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Characterizing the variability of the Eastern North Pacific in Time and Space

Robin Tokmakian(1)

(1) Naval Postgraduate School, 833 Dyer Rd, Monterey, California, United States


Atmospheric indices such as the North Pacific Index, the Southern Oscillation Index, the Northern Oscillation Index have been used to characterize the ocean's variability on interannual scales. This paper uses the thirteen year AVISO's merged altimeteric date set to develop and/or refine a set of indices derived from the ocean's height field to spatially and temporally describe the variability of the Northeast Pacific. Through the use of these indices, the interelationships between the signals can be analyzed. Disregarding the seasonal cycle, three or four major indices can be defined: 1) a coastal signal - strongly related to the seasonal cycle and Southern Oscillation (ENSO) index, 2) a mid North Pacific gyre signal, 3) a Alaskan Gyre index, and 4) an index associated with small variability west of the California Current. Because the 1997/1998 El Nino dominates the variability, the analysis shows results with and without the inclusion of this event. The event primarily effects the coastal or near coastal region. Finally, the relationship between the atmospheric and oceanic indices are explored.


Workshop presentation

Full paper


                 Last modified: 07.10.03