Global warming seems leveling off somewhat during 1993–2013 despite increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases. What has happened to the Kuroshio Current system concurrently? Available independent data sets from 1993 to 2013 point to a single answer. Here we show a systemwide weakened Kuroshio during the period despite enhanced warming along its path. The Pacific warm pool upstream of the Kuroshio is still becoming warmer during the period. It injects more heat into the Current despite the weakened Kuroshio, which is associated with weakened westerlies and cyclonic trends of basin-scale wind stress curl. The weakened Kuroshio will modulate heat and mass exchanges between the tropics and extratropics, impacting the energy balance of climate system. It will also significantly influence mass, heat, salinity, and nutrient exchanges between the Pacific and adjacent marginal seas, which in turn impacts the regional weather, fisheries, and environments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas