Origins of the midlatitude Pacific decadal variability Academic Article uri icon


  • Analysis of multiple climate simulations shows much of the midlatitude Pacific decadal variability to be composed of two simultaneously occurring elements: One is a stochastically driven, passive ocean response to the atmosphere while the other is oscillatory and represents a coupled mode of the ocean-atmosphere system. ENSO processes are not required to explain the origins of the decadal variability. The stochastic variability is driven by random variations in wind stress and heat flux associated with internal atmospheric variability but amplified by a factor of 2 by interactions with the ocean. We also found a coupled mode of the ocean-atmosphere system, characterized by a significant power spectral peak near 1 cycle/20 years in the region of the midlatitude North Pacific and Kuroshio Extension. Ocean dynamics appear to play a critical role in this coupled air/sea mode. Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Barnett, T. P., Pierce, D. W., Saravanan, R., Schneider, N., Dommenget, D., & Latif, M.

citation count

  • 74

complete list of authors

  • Barnett, TP||Pierce, DW||Saravanan, R||Schneider, N||Dommenget, D||Latif, M

publication date

  • May 1999