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Interdecadal variations in Japanese sardine and ocean/climate

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Relations between the long-term variations in numbers of Japanese sardine and in ocean/climate were studied. We examined long-term records of the spring air temperature on the north-western coast of North America (ATNA; 40–50°N, 130–110°W) reconstructed from tree rings, and the sardine catch records inferred from documents dating from 1600 to 1990. High sardine catches occurred eight times in this period, and each high catch continued for 7–45 years. We found a significant difference in mean ATNAs between the abundant and poor catch periods: high (low) catch occurred in periods of high (low) ATNA. ATNA was negatively correlated with spring sea-surface temperature east of Japan (SSTJ; 36–40°N, 150–160°E), where the sardine possibly migrate north-eastward, a relation which was confirmed from 1940 to 1990. In years when the Aleutian Low Pressure System (AL) shifted south-east and intensified, the westerly wind was strong east of Japan along the south-western edge of the AL, resulting in low SSTJ; a warm south-westerly wind blows in the west coast of North America along the south-eastern edge of the AL. If we assume that this relation between ATNA and SSTJ can be extended back to the 1600s, high (low) catches occur in the period when SSTJ is low (high). This relation between sardine catch and SSTJ is consistent with previous studies based on data from after 1900. The present results suggest that long-term variations in Japanese sardine are related to interdecadal North Pacific ocean/climate variability.
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Keywords: Sardinops melanostictus; climate change; interdecadal change; sardine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Earth and Planetary Physics, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hougo, Bumkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan 2: Tohoku National Fisheries Research Institute, Shinhama 3-27-5, Shiogama, Miyagi 985, Japan 3: Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Minamidai 1-15-1, Nakano, Tokyo 164, Japan 4: Geophysical Institute, Hokkaido University, N10, W8, Kita, Sapporo 060, Japan 5: National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Fukura 2-12-4, Kanazawa, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236, Japan

Publication date: 01 March 1999

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