Interplay of Intrinsic versus Forced Decadal Kuroshio Extension Variability: Observations and Predictability

Bo Qiu (University of Hawaii, United States)


Shuiming Chen (University of Hawaii, United States); Niklas Schneider (University of Hawaii, United States)

Event: 2020 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting (virtual)

Session: Science II: Large Scale Ocean Circulation Variability and Change

Presentation type: Type Forum

Decadal modulations of the Kuroshio Extension (KE) system between a stable and an unstable dynamic state in the western North Pacific have prevailed in the past three decades. This dominance of decadal variations is controlled by the negative feedback loop involving the wind-forced KE variability and its feedback onto the overlying extratropical stormtracks and the basin-scale surface wind field. The wind-forced decadal KE modulations were disrupted in August 2017 due to the development of the Kuroshio large meander south of Japan. By forcing the inflow KE paths northward and by avoiding override the shallow Izu Ridge, the Kuroshio large meander was able to compel rapidly the KE from the wind-forced, pre-existing, unstable state to a stable state. Following the large meander occurrence in late 2017, the stabilized KE change is found to affect the overlying stormtracks and the basin-scale wind field the same way as those generated by the wind-forced KE change prior to 2017. Given the consistent atmospheric response to both the large-meander-induced and wind-forced KE variability, we expect that the KE dynamic state will resume its decadal modulation after the phase reset relating to the 2017 large meander event. For future prediction of the KE dynamic state, we argue that there will be a need to explore the entire northwestern subtropical gyre and the overlying atmosphere variability as an integrated climate system.
Bo Qiu
University of Hawaii
United States