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Connecting tropical climate change with Southern Ocean heat uptake

TitleConnecting tropical climate change with Southern Ocean heat uptake
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHwang Y.T, Xie SP, Deser C., Kang S.M
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date Published2017/09
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0094-8276
Accession NumberWOS:000413148100041
Keywordscirculation; energy-transport; global warming; heat uptake; intertropical convergence zone; itcz; model; patterns; precipitation; radiative feedbacks; sensitivity; teleconnection; variability

Under increasing greenhouse gas forcing, climate models project tropical warming that is greater in the Northern than the Southern Hemisphere, accompanied by a reduction in the northeast trade winds and a strengthening of the southeast trades. While the ocean-atmosphere coupling indicates a positive feedback, what triggers the coupled asymmetry and favors greater warming in the northern tropics remains unclear. Far away from the tropics, the Southern Ocean (SO) has been identified as the major region of ocean heat uptake. Beyond its local effect on the magnitude of sea surface warming, we show by idealized modeling experiments in a coupled slab ocean configuration that enhanced SO heat uptake has a profound global impact. This SO-to-tropics connection is consistent with southward atmospheric energy transport across the equator. Enhanced SO heat uptake results in a zonally asymmetric La-Nina-like pattern of sea surface temperature change that not only affects tropical precipitation but also has influences on the Asian and North American monsoons.

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