Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/35281

Recent Walker Circulation strengthening and Pacific cooling amplified by Atlantic warming

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Title: Recent Walker Circulation strengthening and Pacific cooling amplified by Atlantic warming
Authors: McGregor, Shayne
Timmermann, Axel
Stuecker, Malte F.
England, Matthew H.
Merrifield, Mark
show 2 moreJin, Fei-Fei
Chikamoto, Yoshimitsu

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Issue Date: Aug 2014
Publisher: Nature Climate Change
Citation: McGregor S, Timmerman A, Stuecker MF, England MH, Merrifield M, Jin F, Chikamoto Y. Recent Walker Circulation strengthening and Pacific cooling amplified by Atlantic warming. Nat. Climate Change 2014;4:888–892.
Related To: doi:10.1038/nclimate2330
Abstract: An unprecedented strengthening of Pacific trade winds since the late 1990s (ref. 1) has caused widespread climate perturbations, including rapid sea-level rise in the western tropical Pacific, strengthening of Indo-Pacific ocean currents, and an increased uptake of heat in the equatorial Pacific thermocline. The corresponding intensification of the atmospheric Walker circulation is also associated with sea surface cooling in the eastern Pacific, which has been identified as one of the contributors to the current pause in global surface warming. In spite of recent progress in determining the climatic impacts of the Pacific trade wind acceleration, the cause of this pronounced trend in atmospheric circulation remains unknown. Here we analyse a series of climate model experiments along with observational data to show that the recent warming trend in Atlantic sea surface temperature and the corresponding trans-basin displacements of the main atmospheric pressure centres were key drivers of the observed Walker circulation intensification, eastern Pacific cooling, North American rainfall trends and western Pacific sea-level rise. Our study suggests that global surface warming has been partly offset by the Pacific climate response to enhanced Atlantic warming since the early 1990s.
Pages/Duration: 17 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/35281
Appears in Collections:SOEST Faculty & Researcher Works
Timmermann, Axel



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