Global SST/SLP waves during the 20th century

Edited: 2011-02-23
TitleGlobal SST/SLP waves during the 20th century
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsWhite, W. B., and Y. M. Tourre
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date Published2003
Keywordsatmospheric_pressure, climate, sea_level

A discrete number of global signals in covarying sea surface temperature (SST) and sea level pressure (SLP) dominated climate variability from 40°S to 60°N during the 20th Century. They are the quasi-biennial (∼2.2-year period), interannual (3- to 7-year period band), quasi-decadal (∼11-year period), and interdecadal (∼17-year period) signals. A joint frequency-domain analysis of SST and SLP anomalies over the global ocean finds these signals composed of mixed global standing modes and traveling waves that are similar in pattern and evolution. On each period scale, the global traveling wave is composed of global zonal wavenumbers-1 and -2, directed eastward with a phase speed that takes 1 to 2 cycles to traverse the global ocean between 40°S and 20°N. The existence of these global traveling waves may enhance the predictability of regional climate variability.

Short TitleGeophys. Res. Lett.