Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 125–146, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-6-125-2015
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 125–146, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-6-125-2015

Research article 02 Apr 2015

Research article | 02 Apr 2015

Decadal regime shift linkage between global marine fish landings and atmospheric planetary wave forcing

A. M. Powell Jr.1 and J. Xu2 A. M. Powell Jr. and J. Xu
  • 1Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), NOAA/NESDIS College Park, Maryland, USA
  • 2Environmental Science and Technology Center College of Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, USA

Abstract. This investigation focuses on a global forcing mechanism for decadal regime shifts and their subsequent impacts. The proposed global forcing mechanism is that the global atmospheric planetary waves can lead to changes in the global surface air–sea conditions and subsequently fishery changes. In this study, the five decadal regime shifts (1956–1957, 1964–1965, 1977–1978, 1988–1989, and 1998–1999) in the most recent 59-year period (1950–2008) have been identified based on Student t tests and their association with global marine ecosystem change has been discussed. Changes in the three major oceanic (Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian) ecosystems will be explored with the goal of demonstrating the linkage between stratospheric planetary waves and the ocean surface forcing that leads to fisheries impacts. The global forcing mechanism is described with a top-down approach to help the multidisciplinary audience follow the analysis. Following previous work, this analysis addresses how changes in the atmospheric planetary waves may influence the vertical wind structure, surface wind stress, and their connection with the global ocean ecosystems based on a coupling of the atmospheric regime shifts with the decadal regime shifts determined from marine life changes. The multiple decadal regime shifts related to changes in marine life are discussed using the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) global fish capture data (catch/stock). Analyses are performed to demonstrate that examining the interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, and fisheries is a plausible approach to explaining decadal climate change in the global marine ecosystems and its impacts. The results show a consistent mechanism, ocean wind stress, responsible for marine shifts in the three major ocean basins. Changes in the planetary wave pattern affect the ocean wind stress patterns. A change in the ocean surface wind pattern from longwave (relatively smooth and less complex) to shorter-wave (more convoluted and more complex) ocean surface wind stress creates changes in global marine fisheries.

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