Widespread Reemergence of Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in the Global Oceans, Including Tropical Regions Forced by Reemerging Winds

P. Byju, D. Dommenget, M. A. Alexander

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) in portions of the extratropics are known to recur from one winter to the next without persisting through the intervening summer. Previous studies identified only a limited number of midlatitude regions where this reemergence occurs. Here we find that most of the global oceans exhibit winter-to-winter recurrence of SSTA. Indeed, recurrence of SSTA is the default process in the global ocean. Only regions strongly linked to El Niño do not show signs of SST reemergence. In midlatitudes, the temperature anomalies that recur persist below the shallow mixed layer in summer. However, SST recurrence is also found at some tropical locations and appears to be independent of subsurface ocean heat storage. Reemergence at these locations is linked to the recurrence of atmospheric drivers of SSTA, predominantly the wind-stress forcing. Our results are supported by different ocean data sets and by state-of-the-art climate model simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7683-7691
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2018


  • CMIP models
  • ocean mixed layer
  • sea surface temperature
  • weather and climate
  • wind-stress recurrence
  • winter-to-winter persistence

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