Quasi-decadal climate of the Kuroshio Extension (KE) is pivotal to understanding the North Pacific coupled ocean–atmosphere dynamics and their predictability. Recent observational studies suggest that extratropical-tropical coupling between the KE and the central tropical Pacific El Niño Southern Oscillation (CP-ENSO) leads to the observed preferred decadal time-scale of Pacific climate variability. By combining reanalysis data with numerical simulations from a high-resolution climate model and a linear inverse model (LIM), we confirm that KE and CP-ENSO dynamics are linked through extratropical-tropical teleconnections. Specifically, the atmospheric response to the KE excites Meridional Modes that energize the CP-ENSO (extratropicstropics), and in turn, CP-ENSO teleconnections energize the extratropical atmospheric forcing of the KE (tropicsextratropics). However, both observations and the model show that the KE/CP-ENSO coupling is non-stationary and has intensified in recent decades after the mid-1980. Given the short length of the observational and climate model record, it is difficult to attribute this shift to anthropogenic forcing. However, using a large-ensemble of the LIM we show that the intensification in the KE/CP-ENSO coupling after the mid-1980 is significant and linked to changes in the KE atmospheric downstream response, which exhibit a stronger imprint on the subtropical winds that excite the Pacific Meridional modes and CP-ENSO.
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