Mestas-Nunez, A. M. and A. J. Miller,
Interdecadal variability and climate change in the Eastern Tropical Pacific:
Progress in Oceanography, 69, 267-284.
In this paper, we review interdecadal climatic variability in the
Eastern Tropical (ETP) Ocean. This variability dominates the climatic
fluctuations in the North Pacific on scales between ENSO and the
centennial trend and is commonly referred to as the Pacific
Decadal Oscillation or PDO. We include a historical overview and
a summary of observational work that describes the surface, tropospheric
and subsurface signatures of this variability. Descriptions
of interdecadal variability are incomplete at best, mostly
due to limitation in the observational record. We emphasize that the
well-known "ENSO-like" pattern describing the PDO with a maximum
along the equator may not be an accurate representation in the
ETP. In the ETP, the SST maxima are displaced north and
south of the equator, which has significant implications for the
tropospherically driven circulations.
Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the PDO.
We review models and mechanisms which capture our present level
of understanding of the problem. We conclude with a description
of the longer-scale multi-decadal variability and the centennial
trend. This paper is part of a comprehensive review of the
oceanography of the Eastern Tropical Pacific.