Yi, D. L., B. Gan, L. Wu and A. J. Miller, 2018:

The North Pacific Gyre Oscillation and mechanisms of its decadal variability in CMIP5 models.


Journal of Climate, in press.

Abstract. Based on the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) product and 37 models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) database, we evaluate the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) and its decadal generation mechanisms, by studying the second leading modes of North Pacific sea surface height (SSH) and sea level pressure (SLP) as well as their dynamical connections. It is found that 17 out of 37 models can well simulate the spatial pattern and decadal time scales (10-30 years) of the NPGO mode, which resembles to the observation-based SODA. Dynamical connections between the oceanic mode – NPGO and the atmospheric mode – North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) are strongly evident in both SODA and the 17 models. Particularly, about 30%-40% of the variance of the NPGO variability, which generally exhibits a preferred time scale, can be explained by the NPO variability, which has no preferred time scale in most models.
Two mechanisms of the decadal NPGO variability which have been proposed by previous studies are evaluated in SODA and the 17 models: (1) stochastic atmospheric forcing – oceanic spatial resonance, (2) low-frequency atmospheric teleconnections excited by the equatorial Pacific. Evaluation reveals that such two mechanisms are valid in SODA and 2 models (CNRM-CM5 and CNRM-CM5-2), while 2 models (CMCC-CM and CMCC-CMS) prefer the first mechanism and 2 models (CMCC-CESM and IPSL-CM5B-LR) prefer the second mechanism. The other 11 models have no evident relations with the proposed two mechanisms, suggesting the need for a fundamental understanding of the decadal NPGO variability in future.

Preprint (pdf)