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Observational analyses reveal that wintertime variations in sea surface temperatures (SST) in the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension (KOE) region of the North Pacific are associated with two distinct and robust patterns of atmospheric variability: 1) a pattern that peaks in amplitude approximately 2-3 weeks prior to large KOE SST anomalies and is consistent with atmospheric forcing of the SST field and 2) a very different pattern that lags SST anomalies in theKOEregion by approximately a month. The latter pattern is dominated by low sea level pressure anomalies and turbulent heat fluxes directed into the atmosphere over warm SST anomalies and is interpreted as the transient atmospheric response to SST anomalies over the KOE region. The results contribute to a growing body of evidence that suggests variations in SSTs in the midlatitude oceans are capable of significantly influencing the large-scale atmospheric circulation, especially near western boundary currents.


Wills, Samantha M.;  Thompson, David W. J.

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