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Large-scale patterns of climate variability can be explained at this Annular Modes Website.

If so, have they been characterized by EOF analysis in the same way that the annular modes in the atmosphere have been characterized? Where would be able to find this?

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you be more precise in what exactly you mean by annular modes? The short answer is yes, but that might not be a satisfactory one. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Apr 15 '14 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ ENSO is a large scale variability in the ocean (to which the atmosphere responds) $\endgroup$ – casey Apr 16 '14 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ The separation between ocean and atmosphere when we talk about large-scale modes of variability is difficult as shown by Casey's comment. ENSO affects both the ocean and the atmosphere and it is better studied as a coupled mode of variability. $\endgroup$ – arkaia Apr 16 '14 at 14:59
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The large scale modes of variability present in the atmosphere are also found in the ocean. There is a strong feedback between the two systems with wind, heat flux and atmospheric pressure modifying ocean surface conditions and with parameters such as sea surface temperature altering atmospheric conditions.

A lot of studies have explored teleconnections in the ocean looking for instance at the EOFs of sea surface temperature. A good compilation of different atmospheric and oceanic time series and references can be found in Climate Indices: Monthly Atmospheric and Ocean Time Series.

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