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Title: Modulation of the Eastern Equatorial Pacific Seasonal Cycle by Tropical Instability Waves

Feedbacks from tropical instability waves (TIWs) on the seasonal cycle of the eastern Pacific Ocean are studied using two eddy‐rich ocean simulations, with and without TIWs. By warming the equatorial waters by up to 0.4°C through nonlinear advection in boreal summer and fall, TIWs reduce the amplitude of the seasonal cycle in upper ocean temperatures. In addition, TIWs stabilize the upper part of the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) through enhanced barotropic energy conversion, leading to a year‐round weakening by −0.15 m s−1and preventing an unrealistic re‐intensification in boreal fall usually found in non‐eddy resolving models. A coarser simulation at 1‐degree horizontal resolution fails to reproduce the TIW‐induced nonlinear warming of equatorial waters, but succeeds in inhibiting the EUC re‐intensification. This suggests a threshold effect in TIW strength, associated with the model's ability to simulate eddies, which may be responsible for long‐standing biases displayed by global climate models in this region.

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Award ID(s):
2141728 1813611
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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