An Atlantic-driven rapid circulation change in the North Pacific Ocean during the late 1990s

Chau Ron Wu*, Yong Fu Lin, You Lin Wang, Noel Keenlyside, Jin Yi Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Interbasin interactions have been increasingly emphasized in recent years due to their roles in shaping climate trends and the global warming hiatus in the northern hemisphere. The profound influence from the North Atlantic on the Tropical Pacific has been a primary focus. In this study, we conducted observational analyses and numerical modeling experiments to show that the North Atlantic has also strongly influenced the Extratropical North Pacific. A rapid and synchronous change in the atmospheric and oceanic circulations was observed in the North Pacific during the late 1990s. The change was driven by the transbasin influence from the Atlantic Ocean. During the positive phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) since the 1990s, the anomalously warm North Atlantic triggers a series of zonally symmetric and asymmetric transbasin teleconnections involving the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), Walker and Hadley circulations, and Rossby wave propagation that lead to a decrease in wind stress curls over the Pacific subtropics, resulting in an abrupt weakening in the North Pacific subtropical gyre (NPSG) and the Kuroshio Current.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14411
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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