National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2015

Pacific western boundary currents and their roles in climate

Hu, D., L. Wu, W. Cai, A. Sen Gupta, A. Ganachaud, B. Qiu, A.L. Gordon, X. Lin, Z. Chen, S. Hu, G. Wang, Q. Wang, J. Sprintall, T. Qu, Y. Kashino, F. Wang, and W.S. Kessler

Nature, 522, 299–308, doi: 10.1038/nature14504 (2015)

Pacific Ocean western boundary currents and the interlinked equatorial Pacific circulation system were among the first currents of these types to be explored by pioneering oceanographers. The widely accepted but poorly quantified importance of these currents—in processes such as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Indonesian Throughflow—has triggered renewed interest. Ongoing efforts are seeking to understand the heat and mass balances of the equatorial Pacific, and possible changes associated with greenhouse-gas-induced climate change. Only a concerted international effort will close the observational, theoretical and technical gaps currently limiting a robust answer to these elusive questions.

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