Climate Dynamics

, Volume 53, Issue 1–2, pp 1187–1208 | Cite as

Global ocean heat content redistribution during the 1998–2012 Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation negative phase

  • Guillaume GastineauEmail author
  • Andrew R. Friedman
  • Myriam Khodri
  • Jérôme Vialard


Previous studies have linked the slowdown in global surface temperature warming during the 1998–2012 period to a negative Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) phase. Here, we investigate the changes in ocean heat content (OHC) during this period. We compare two ensembles of coupled model experiments with either zero or observed prescribed tropical Pacific wind stress interannual anomalies. This successfully constrains the global surface temperature, sea level pressure and OHC patterns associated with the IPO phase transition around 1998. The negative IPO phase (1998–2012) is associated with a global ocean heat redistribution. The anomalously cold tropical Pacific Ocean leads to an increased oceanic uptake in this region, and a global OHC increase of 4 × 1022 J. The cold equatorial Pacific also forces mid-latitude wind changes through atmospheric teleconnections, leading to an enhanced wind-driven heat transport convergence at 40°N and 40°S. Enhanced Pacific easterlies also yield an enhanced heat transport to the Indian Ocean via the Indonesian throughflow. As a result, the anomalous Pacific heat uptake is entirely exported towards the North Pacific (~ 50%), Indian (~ 30%) and Southern (~ 20%) Oceans. A significant fraction of this heat is released back to the atmosphere in the North Pacific and Indian basins, and transported across 31°S in the Indian Ocean. Overall, OHC increases most in the Southern Ocean (~ 60% of global changes) and northern Pacific (~ 40%), with negligible changes in the Indian and Atlantic basins. These results point to the major importance of oceanic circulation in re-distributing the Pacific heat uptake globally during negative IPO phases.


Decadal climate variability Pacific Ocean Global warming Ocean heat content Air–sea interactions 



This research was supported by the French National Research Agency under the program Facing Societal, Climate and Environmental Changes (MORDICUS project, Grant ANR-13-SENV-0002). This work was granted access to the HPC resources of TGCC under the allocation 2015-017403 and 2016-017403 made by GENCI. This study also benefited from the IPSL mesocenter facility which is supported by CNRS, UPMC, Labex L-IPSL (funded by the ANR Grant #ANR-10-LABX-0018 and by the European FP7 IS-ENES2 Grant #312979). We thank the ECMWF for providing the ERA-Interim reanalysis. The ECMWF ORAS4 reanalysis was provided by the CliSAP-Integrated Climate Data Center at the University of Hamburg. The AVISO SSH data were obtained from Marine Copernicus service. The OISST dataset was provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado. The HadISST1 dataset was provided by the Met Office Hadley Centre. The TropFlux dataset is produced under a collaboration between LOCEAN/IPSL/IRD and the National Institute of Oceanography/CSIR, and relies on ERA-Interim and ISCCP data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication September 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR LOCEAN, Sorbonne Université/CNRS/IRD/MNHN, IPSLParisFrance
  2. 2.School of GeosciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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