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9.10: Large Cycles in Ocean Climate Variability

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    10289
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    Large Cycles in Ocean Climate Variability

    The ocean/atmosphere systems display cyclic changes beyond annual seasonal changes. Longer-term cycles are also taking place. Changes happening in one region can gradually impact other regions on multi-year to decade cycles (example: cycles in coastal upwelling on North America's West Coast, Figure 9.23). Even longer-term cycles are influenced by extraterrestrial pattern changes in the orbit and rotation of the Earth relative to the Sun over time. These changes impact the distribution of precipitation and influence the warming or cooling of climates over multi-year periods, and changes in sea level over time linked to the accumulation and melting of continental glaciers.

    California ocean themperatures 2000 Upwelling activity by year in the California Current
    Figure 9.22. Upwelling offshore of California revealed by ocean surface temperatures. Figure 9.23. Cycles of upwelling on North America's West Coast influenced by ENSO.