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Keywords:

  • Pacific Decadal Oscillation;
  • sulfate aerosols;
  • China

[1] We examine the direct effect of anthropogenic sulfate aerosol from China on the sea surface temperature (SST) variability in the North Pacific, especially focusing on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) using a coupled general circulation model (CGCM). We conduct two long-term simulations, i.e., the Exp_Asia and the Exp_Asia_2x. Anthropogenic sulfate aerosols are prescribed in China only in the Exp_Asia. The conditions for the Exp_Asia_2x simulation are the same as in the Exp_Asia simulation, except the concentration of the anthropogenic sulfate aerosols in China is two times higher than that of the Exp_Asia simulation. It is found that the spatial structure of the PDO changes slightly despite an increase in the anthropogenic sulfate aerosol in China. In contrast, the temporal structure of the PDO is significantly altered between the two simulations. The variance in the PDO index in the boreal winter (December-January-February) and spring (March-April-May) is enhanced for the Exp_Asia_2x on low-frequency timescales (>10 years) compared to that of the Exp_Asia simulation. Upon further analysis, the results of our study indicate that the change in the PDO index from the Exp_Asia to the Exp_Asia_2x is associated with the change in the mean SST in the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension (KOE) region through the modification of atmospheric circulation. The change in SST in the KOE region is primarily associated with a wave-like temperature structure forced by the diabatic cooling in the low-level atmosphere in China through the modification of atmospheric circulation, which is caused by an increase in the anthropogenic sulfate aerosols. Therefore, it is possible for the temporal structure of the North Pacific SST variability (i.e., PDO) to be altered through the mean SST change in the North Pacific Ocean caused by an increase in regional sulfate aerosols in China.