The Characteristics of Signal versus Noise SST Variability in the North Pacific and the Tropical Pacific Ocean
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Total SST in a coupled GCM is diagnosed by separating the variability into signal variance and noise variance. The signal and the noise is calculated from multi-decadal simulations from the COLA anomaly coupled GCM and the interactive ensemble model by assuming both simulations have a similar signal variance. The interactive ensemble model is a new coupling strategy that is designed to increase signal to noise ratio by using an ensemble of atmospheric realizations coupled to a single ocean model. The procedure for separating the signal and the noise variability presented here does not rely on any ad hoc temporal or spatial filter. Based on these simulations, we find that the signal versus the noise of SST variability in the North Pacific is significantly different from that in the equatorial Pacific. The noise SST variability explains the majority of the total variability in the North Pacific, whereas the signal dominates in the deep tropics. It is also found that the spatial characteristics of the signal and the noise are also distinct in the North Pacific and equatorial Pacific.
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