Possible gyre–gyre interaction in the Pacific Ocean


The subtropical anticyclonic gyres of the North and South Pacific Ocean are among the largest circulation systems found in the ocean. The gyres contain the warm waters of the warm water sphere1,2, and the rotation of these water masses is subject to low-frequency variations3. The presence in these gyres of baroclinic Rossby waves with periods of many years has been documented4,5 and this seems to be sufficient proof that the gyres undergo vacillations. Using sea-level data we demonstrate here that the subtropical gyres of the North and South Pacific oscillate with a period of about 4 years and that these oscillations are probably induced by the major El Niño events.

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Wyrtki, K., Wenzel, J. Possible gyre–gyre interaction in the Pacific Ocean. Nature 309, 538–540 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1038/309538a0

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