Diversity of North Pacific Meridional Mode and Its Distinct Impacts on El Niño-Southern Oscillation

Jiuwei Zhao, Jong Seong Kug, Jae Heung Park, Soon Il An

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous studies have demonstrated that the North Pacific Meridional Mode (NPMM) plays an important role in determining El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events in the following winter season. However, little attention has been given to significant differences among its spatial patterns. Here we show that the NPMM exhibits a large diversity in spatial patterns, leading to distinct impacts on ENSO. Based on objective clustering analysis, two distinct spatial patterns of NPMM are detected. Cluster 1 (C1) NPMM exhibits a strong sea surface temperature dipole over the subtropical eastern Pacific and midlatitude central Pacific whereas Cluster 2 (C2) features a dipole over the subtropical eastern Pacific and equatorial cold tongue region. We find that the C1 NPMM is strongly linked to following ENSO events while the C2 NPMM has no statistically significant relation. This gives new implications for ENSO dynamics and predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL088993
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 16

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been funded by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program under Grant KMIPA 2018‐03212 and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF‐2018R1A5A1024958). Jiuwei Zhao thanks Dr. Xiao Luo and Weiyi Sun for helpful discussion of the clustering method.

Publisher Copyright:
©2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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