The impact of ENSO periodicity on North Pacific SST variability

Daeho Jin, Ben P. Kirtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The periodicity of ENSO in nature varies. Here we examine how changes in the frequency of ENSO impacts remote teleconnections in the North Pacific. The numerical experiments presented here are designed to simulate perfectly periodic ENSO in the tropical Pacific, and to enable the air-sea interaction in other regions (i. e., the North Pacific) via a simple mixed layer ocean model. The temporal evolution and spatial structure of the North Pacific SST teleconnection patterns are relatively insensitive to the frequency of ENSO, but the amplitude of the variability is sensitive. Specifically, the 2-year period ENSO experiment (P2) shows weak event-by-event consistency in the ENSO response mature pattern. This is because there is not enough time to damp the previously forced ENSO teleconnections (i. e., 1 year earlier). The 4-year period ENSO experiment (P4) has 1 year damping time before a successive ENSO event matures, so the structure of the response pattern is stably repeated. However, the event-by-event variance of anomaly magnitude, specifically responding to El Niño, is still larger than that in the 6-year ENSO experiment (P6), which has 2-year damping time between consecutive ENSO events. In addition, we tested whether the variability due to tropical remote forcing is linearly independent of the extratropical local variability. Statistical tests indicate that tropical remote forcing can constructively or destructively interfere with local variability in the North Pacific. Lastly, there is a non-linear rectification of the ENSO events that can be detected in the climatology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1039
Number of pages25
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Air-sea interaction
  • ENSO periodicity (frequency)
  • Extratropical ENSO responses
  • TOGA
  • Tropical-extratropical interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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