Remote versus local influence of ENSO on the California Current System

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Author(s) Frischknecht, Martin, Münnich, Matthias, Gruber, Nicolas
Publication Type Journal Items, Publication Status: Published
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Title Remote versus local influence of ENSO on the California Current System
Author(s) Frischknecht, Martin
Münnich, Matthias
Gruber, Nicolas
Journal or Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research C, Oceans
Volume Number 120
Issue Number 2
Start Page 1353
End Page 1374
ISSN 2169-9275
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Publication Place Washington, DC
Publication Date 2015-02
Abstract Much of the observed interannual variability in the physical and biogeochemical state of the California Current System (CalCS) is associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation. Yet it is unclear whether this is primarily a result of atmospheric teleconnections forcing the ocean locally through changes in wind and fluxes of heat and freshwater, or whether this is a consequence of oceanic interior processes that transport tropical variability through, e.g., coastally trapped waves to the region. Here we investigate the relative contribution of these two mechanisms in the CalCS using a novel setup of the Regional Oceanic Modeling System coupled to a biogeochemical/ecological model. We conducted a hindcast simulation over the period 1979–2013 and contrast the results with those from sensitivity simulations with climatological atmospheric boundary conditions either for the U.S. West Coast or the rest of the Pacific. We find that remote forcing dominates the variability of the physical state in the nearshore region of the CalCS, explaining up to 80% of monthly mean sea-surface height and temperature variability. In contrast, local processes tend to drive variations in the biogeochemical/ecological state, particularly along central and northern California, explaining up to 50% of the observed surface variability. Most of the remote forcing is a consequence of coastally trapped waves that travel northward at speeds of approximately 230 km d−1, and thereby alter sea-level height, thermocline structure, and upwelling along California. Biogeochemically active tracers respond to this remote forcing as well, especially at depth, but are more strongly modulated by local atmospheric forcing, especially variations in upwelling-favorable winds.
DOI 10.1002/2014JC010531
Additional Notes Published online by: Wiley
Document Type Article
Publication Status Published
Language English
Assigned Organisational Unit(s) 03731
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NEBIS System Number 004289352
Source Database ID SCOPUS-84924807090
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  author = "Frischknecht, Martin and M{\"{u}}nnich, Matthias and Gruber, Nicolas",
  title = "{R}emote versus local influence of {E}{N}{S}{O} on the {C}alifornia {C}urrent {S}ystem",
  journal = "Journal of Geophysical Research C, Oceans",
  year = 2015,
  volume = "120",
  number = "2",
  pages = "1353--1374",
  month = feb,

E-Citations record created: Tue, 10 Mar 2015, 08:46:57 CET