Temporal variations of area of the North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW), in the repeat hydrographic section along 137°E meridian conducted by the Japan Meteorological Agency, are investigated using the de-trended variables from 1972 to 2008. Variations of NPIW area show a clear quasi-decadal (about 10 years) modulation and it is caused by the vertical displacement of isopycnal surfaces in the lower portion of NPIW around the northern boundary of its distribution (30-32°N): The downward (upward) movement of isopycnal surfaces in the lower portion of NPIW as a result of the first-mode baroclinic ocean response stretches (shrinks) the density layer equivalent of NPIW and causes strengthening (weakening) of westward flows associated with the Kuroshio Counter Current, and then it can induce an increase (decrease) of volume transport of NPIW from the east. Consequently, the NPIW northern boundary shifts northward (southward) and an increase (decrease) of the NPIW area is induced. Large-scale atmospheric forcing controlling the vertical displacements of isopycnal surfaces is explored using a wind-driven hindcast ocean model. The vertical displacements stem from the first-mode baroclinic ocean response to the two types of Aleutian Low (AL) activities: in particular, the meridional movement of the AL imparts more potential influence on them than the AL intensity variation does.
ASJC Scopus subject areas