loading page

Deciphering the Role of Ocean Dynamics in Equatorial Pacific Decadal Variability
  • +8
  • Yu Zhang,
  • Shi-Yun Yu,
  • Shang-Ping Xie,
  • Dillon J. Amaya,
  • Qihua Peng,
  • Yu Kosaka,
  • Xiaopei Lin,
  • Jun-Chao Yang,
  • Sarah M. Larson,
  • Arthur J. Miller,
  • Lei Fan
Yu Zhang
Ocean University of China
Author Profile
Shi-Yun Yu
Ocean University of China
Author Profile
Shang-Ping Xie
Author Profile
Dillon J. Amaya
University of Colorado Boulder
Author Profile
Qihua Peng
Author Profile
Yu Kosaka
University of Tokyo
Author Profile
Xiaopei Lin
Physical Oceanography Laboratory, Ocean University of China

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Jun-Chao Yang
Ocean University of China
Author Profile
Sarah M. Larson
North Carolina State University
Author Profile
Arthur J. Miller
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Author Profile
Lei Fan
Ocean University of China
Author Profile


Equatorial Pacific decadal variability (EPDV) modulates global climate. Although EPDV is suggested to be generated by both air-sea thermodynamically coupled slab ocean models (SOM) and fully coupled dynamic ocean models (DOM), the reason of EPDV simulated by the two distinct hierarchies of models remains unclear. This ambiguity arises from a gap in the dynamical framework between SOM and DOM. To fill the gap, we conducted a novel experiment (Clim-tau) that retains only the effects of thermodynamic coupling and mean ocean current on EPDV (without anomalous ocean current). We showed that in Clim-tau, thermodynamic-driven EPDV as in SOM is largely damped by equatorial Pacific mean upwelling; whereas involving anomalous ocean current as in DOM, the damped EPDV will be further amplified. Finally, we discussed the role of ocean dynamics in the observed EPDV. Our study highlights that SOM may misinterpret the physical mechanisms in the regions where ocean dynamics is important.