Miller, A. J., F. Chai, S. Chiba, J. R. Moisan and D. J. Neilson,
Decadal-scale climate and ecosystem interactions in the North Pacific Ocean.
Journal of Oceanography, 60, 163-188.
Decadal-scale climate variations in the Pacific Ocean wield a strong
influence on the oceanic ecosystem. Two dominant patterns of large-scale SST variability
and one dominant pattern of large-scale thermocline variability can be explained as a forced
oceanic response to large-scale changes in the Aleutian Low. The physical mechanisms that
generate this decadal variability are still unclear, but stochastic atmospheric forcing
of the ocean combined with atmospheric teleconnections from the tropics to the midlatitudes
and some weak ocean-atmosphere feedbacks processes are the most plausible explanation.
These observed physical variations organize the oceanic ecosystem response through large-scale
basin-wide forcings that exert distinct local influences through many different processes.
The regional ecosystem impacts of these local processes are discussed for the Tropical
Pacific, the Central North Pacific, the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension, the Bering Sea, the
Gulf of Alaska, and the California Current System regions in the context of the observed
decadal climate variability. The physical ocean-atmosphere system and the oceanic ecosystem
interact through many different processes. These include physical forcing of the ecosystem
by changes in solar fluxes, ocean temperature, horizontal current advection, vertical
mixing and upwelling, freshwater fluxes, and sea ice. These also include oceanic ecosystem
forcing of the climate by attenuation of solar energy by phytoplankton absorption and
atmospheric aerosol production by phytoplankton DMS fluxes. A more complete understanding of
the complicated feedback processes controlling decadal variability, ocean ecosystems, and
biogeochemical cycling requires a concerted and organized long-term observational and