Wind-driven circulation in the subarctic north Pacific using altimeter data

Osamu Isoguchi, Hiroshi Kawamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Time-dependent wind-driven circulation in the subarctic north Pacific is investigated by using Topex/Poseidon (T/P) altimeter data and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) wind data for about 6 years. The first empirical orthogonal function (EOF) of the T/P-derived sea level anomaly (SLA) without the variation related to the steric height change (SLA1) and the first EOF of the ECMWF-based wind stress curl fields represent basin-sized south-north oscillations and their time series agree well with a correlation of 0.49. They appear to express the spin-up and spin-down of the subarctic gyre. The third EOF of SLA (SLA3) and the second EOF of the wind stress curl are also related to the variation of the subarctic gyre. Though the correlation of their time series is 0.27, drastic changes in early winter coincide well. The two EOF pairs can be considered to mean that the SLA variation followed by the latitudinal migration of the Aleutian low is separated into two standing oscillation patterns, that is, the sea level variation combines with SLA1 and SLA3 expresses seasonal variations of the wind-driven circulation of the subarctic gyre. The interannual SLAs constructed by subtracting the SLA1 and SLA3 components clearly show trans-pacific westward propagation even in the high-latitudes. The time series of SLA1 is in agreement with that of in situ SLAs measured with the tide gauge at Petropavlovsk (53-01N, 158-38E), which implies the possibility to monitor the subarctic circulation using tide gauge data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-279
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Earth and Planetary Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Sep


  • Altimeter
  • EOF analyses
  • Subarctic north Pacific
  • Time-dependent wind-driven circulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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