A role for the tropical pacific coupled ocean-atmosphere system on milankovitch and millennial timescales. Part II: Global impacts

Mark Cane, Amy C. Clement

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

115 Scopus citations

Abstract

We offer the hypothesis that global scale millennial and glacial cycles may be initiated from the tropical Pacific. Part I used model results to illustrate how nonlinear ocean-atmosphere interactions in the tropical Pacific could generate variations in the field of sea surface temperature (SST) on both orbital and millennial timescales. The physics underlying these variations is essentially the same as that causing ENSO (El Niño - Southern Oscillation) variability in the modern climate. Here we argue that, as with ENSO but on paleoclimatic timescales, these changes in SST distribution will be accompanied by changes in the location of atmospheric convection, which will alter the global climate via atmospheric teleconnections. By analogy with ENSO, it is hypothesized that the cold phase will increase the glaciation over North America, increase low cloud cover, and reduce atmospheric water vapor. All tend to cool the earth either by increasing the planetary albedo or reducing greenhouse trapping. The warm phase has the opposite tendencies. We also critique the hypothesis that millennial changes are triggered by changes in the production of North Atlantic Deep Water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMechanisms of Global Climate Change at Millennial Time Scales, 1999
EditorsLloyd D. Keigwin, Peter U. Clark, Robert S. Webb
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Pages373-383
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781118664742
ISBN (Print)9780875900957
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameGeophysical Monograph Series
Volume112
ISSN (Print)0065-8448
ISSN (Electronic)2328-8779

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics

Cite this

Cane, M., & Clement, A. C. (1999). A role for the tropical pacific coupled ocean-atmosphere system on milankovitch and millennial timescales. Part II: Global impacts. In L. D. Keigwin, P. U. Clark, & R. S. Webb (Eds.), Mechanisms of Global Climate Change at Millennial Time Scales, 1999 (pp. 373-383). (Geophysical Monograph Series; Vol. 112). Blackwell Publishing Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1029/GM112p0373