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Interannual waves in the sea surface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean

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Various oscillatory modes of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) observed over a period of 8.8 years with the NASA Nimbus 7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) and for 13 years with the NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), the latter sensing in the thermal infrared band, are described for the Pacific Ocean. The various modes are isolated by a combination of techniques designed also to accommodate non-stationary phenomena. After detrending and removing the seasonal cycle from each grid map element of the data, singular value decomposition (SVD) is used to separate the data into spatial and temporal parts to facilitate the modal analysis. Empirical Mode Decomposition is then used to separate the temporal parts of the data into approximately seven intrinsic modal functions (IMFs) for the temporal parts of the first five principal components (PCs) resulting from the SVD. A filtered time sequence of SST grids is then obtained by selecting IMFs with periods longer than 1.5 years and then reconstructing the SST grid maps from the filtered PCs. The time sequence of SMMR SSTs in the Pacific Ocean shows El NiƱo Southern Oscillation (ENSO) oscillations not only along the Equator, but also in both the North and South Pacific, with, in fact, even larger amplitudes than along the Equator. A similar analysis was applied to the SST record from the AVHRR instrument. During the period of overlap with the SMMR record, similarities occur in the equatorial region, but the records are by no means identical. The AVHRR SSTs do not show any strong oscillations in the South Pacific.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oceans and Ice Branch, Laboratory for Hydrospheric Sciences NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt MD 20771 USA

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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