National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1999

Salinity signature of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation

Overland, J.E., S. Salo, and J.M. Adams

Geophys. Res. Lett., 26(9), 1337–1340, doi: 10.1029/1999GL900241 (1999)

Three sites in the North Pacific have temperature and salinity observations in most months for several years before and after 1977. The Gulf of Alaska station (57°N, 148°W) showed a 2°C warming and a 0.6 freshening in salinity at 10 m depth in the 1980s compared to the 1970s. OWS PAPA (50°N, 145°W) and PAPA line station 7 (49.1°N, 132.4°W) show warming of 0.6°C and 0.9°C, with no major salinity change. The decrease in density and increase in stratification in the Gulf of Alaska after 1977 corresponds primarily to a decrease in salinity in the upper 150 m. We propose that while the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has an east/west character in temperature, the salinity signature will have a NNW/SSE character, similar to the pattern of interannual variability in precipitation.

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