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Title: Contributions of Internal Variability and External Forcing to the Recent Pacific Decadal Variations

Abstract

There is substantial uncertainty in the relative contributions of internal variability and external forcing to the recent Pacific decadal variability, especially regarding their linkage with the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. By analyzing observations and large ensembles of coupled climate model simulations, here we show that observed Pacific decadal variations since 1920 resulted primarily from internal variability, although greenhouse gas (GHG) and other external forcing did modulate decadal variations in Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs) significantly, especially for the period since the early 1990s. Specifically, the GHG-induced warming and the recovery from the volcanic cooling caused by the 1991 Pinatubo eruption led to large warming in the tropical Pacific during 1993–2012, while recent anthropogenic aerosols contributed to Pacific regional SST variations on multiyear to decadal scales, causing a La Niña-like cooling pattern in the Pacific since 1998 in some of the models. Our results provide new evidence that both internal variability and external forcing have contributed to the recent decadal variations in Pacific SSTs since the early 1990s, although large uncertainties exist among the model-simulated effects of anthropogenic aerosols.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. State Univ. of New York (SUNY), Albany, NY (United States); Nanjing Univ. of Information Science and Technology (China)
  2. State Univ. of New York (SUNY), Albany, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
State Univ. of New York (SUNY), Albany, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1561341
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1460581; OSTI ID: 1539750
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0012602; DE‐SC0012602
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 45; Journal Issue: 14; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Geology

Citation Formats

Hua, Wenjian, Dai, Aiguo, and Qin, Minhua. Contributions of Internal Variability and External Forcing to the Recent Pacific Decadal Variations. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1029/2018gl079033.
Hua, Wenjian, Dai, Aiguo, & Qin, Minhua. Contributions of Internal Variability and External Forcing to the Recent Pacific Decadal Variations. United States. doi:10.1029/2018gl079033.
Hua, Wenjian, Dai, Aiguo, and Qin, Minhua. Tue . "Contributions of Internal Variability and External Forcing to the Recent Pacific Decadal Variations". United States. doi:10.1029/2018gl079033.
@article{osti_1561341,
title = {Contributions of Internal Variability and External Forcing to the Recent Pacific Decadal Variations},
author = {Hua, Wenjian and Dai, Aiguo and Qin, Minhua},
abstractNote = {There is substantial uncertainty in the relative contributions of internal variability and external forcing to the recent Pacific decadal variability, especially regarding their linkage with the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. By analyzing observations and large ensembles of coupled climate model simulations, here we show that observed Pacific decadal variations since 1920 resulted primarily from internal variability, although greenhouse gas (GHG) and other external forcing did modulate decadal variations in Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs) significantly, especially for the period since the early 1990s. Specifically, the GHG-induced warming and the recovery from the volcanic cooling caused by the 1991 Pinatubo eruption led to large warming in the tropical Pacific during 1993–2012, while recent anthropogenic aerosols contributed to Pacific regional SST variations on multiyear to decadal scales, causing a La Niña-like cooling pattern in the Pacific since 1998 in some of the models. Our results provide new evidence that both internal variability and external forcing have contributed to the recent decadal variations in Pacific SSTs since the early 1990s, although large uncertainties exist among the model-simulated effects of anthropogenic aerosols.},
doi = {10.1029/2018gl079033},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 14,
volume = 45,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1029/2018gl079033

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Cited by: 3 works
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