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Seasonal evolution of the interannual variability of chlorophyll-a concentration and its forcing factors in the northwestern Pacific from 1998 to 2010

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The northwestern Pacific Ocean is a complex region with significant biological spatial variations on a seasonal timescale. To investigate the joint variation patterns on both seasonal and interannual timescales, a season-reliant empirical orthogonal function (S-EOF) analysis was applied to seasonal mean chlorophyll-a concentration (chl-a) anomalies in the northwestern Pacific Ocean during the period 1998–2010. The first two dominant modes accounted for nearly 31% of the total interannual variance, with the second S-EOF mode (S-EOF2) lagging behind the first S-EOF mode (S-EOF1) by one year. S-EOF1 featured a strong variation pattern to the north of 30° N, with maximum chl-a in winter and minimum chl-a in summer. However, S-EOF2 indicated an opposite seasonally evolving pattern compared with S-EOF1, with chl-a increasing along the Kuroshio and extension current from boreal winter to autumn. Both these modes revealed significant relationships with climate-related indices. The two modes corresponded to the central Pacific (CP) La Niña developing episodes and the turnaround from eastern Pacific (EP) La Niña to CP El Niño, respectively. Both modes were associated with the cold phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which played an important role in prolonging the impact of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation on chl-a seasonal evolution from 1998 to 2010. In addition, we discuss the possible factors dominating chl-a seasonal variation, in terms of the subregions of the northwestern Pacific Ocean. In the subtropical northwestern Pacific Ocean (15° N – 30° N), the chl-a growth was primarily nutrient-limited, whereas in the mid-latitude northwestern Pacific Ocean (35° N – 50° N), the chl-a growth was mainly light-limited.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100094, PR China

Publication date: June 18, 2014

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