Mechanisms and predictability of multiyear ecosystem variability in the North Pacific

Megumi O. Chikamoto, Axel Timmermann, Yoshimitsu Chikamoto, Hiroki Tokinaga, Naomi Harada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Aleutian Low variations provide vorticity, buoyancy, and heat-flux forcing to the North Pacific Ocean, which in turn cause changes in ocean circulation, mixed layer characteristics and sea ice coverage. In this process the white noise atmospheric characteristics are integrated dynamically and thermodynamically to generate red noise ocean spectra. Using the Community Earth System Model (version 1.0.3) we study the resulting biogeochemical and ecosystem responses in the North Pacific. We find that ocean dynamical variables have an impact on the tendencies of key nutrients and biological production, which leads to a further reddening of biogeochemical spectra resulting in potential predictability on time scales of 2-4 years. However, this low-pass filtering does not apply to all biogeochemical variables and is regionally dependent. It is shown that phytoplankton biomass in the Central North Pacific adjusts to the much shorter-term variability associated with changes in mixed layer depth, light availability, and zooplankton grazing, thus limiting the predictability of phytoplankton anomalies to about 1 year. In the eastern North Pacific the slow advection of anomalous nutrient concentrations leads to longer persistence of phytoplankton variability and increased potential predictability of up to 3 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2001-2019
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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