The decadal modulation of coupled bred vectors

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Abstract

[1] This study investigates the nature of a decadal modulation in the coupled bred vectors (BVs) developed to capture the dominant instabilities related to seasonal-to-interannual variability in the Equatorial Pacific using the GEOS-5 atmosphere-ocean general circulation model. It is found that the coupled BVs, with a monthly rescaling period, successfully reflect the observed decadal modulation of zonal location in the El Niño action center over the equatorial Pacific. By dividing the 30 years of BVs into two epochs, it is shown that the leading Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) of BV oceanic temperature shifts from the eastern Pacific during 1981–1999 to the central Pacific during 2000–2010, consistent with decadal changes in the location of the El Niño action center. By performing a budget analysis for BV temperature, it is found that the westward shift of the BV temperature is due to the strengthening of the mean zonal temperature gradient, which acts to amplify the BV temperature growth due to the zonal advection of background temperature by the BV current.

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