Simulated variability in the mean atmospheric meridional circulation over the 20th century

Damianos F. Mantsis, Amy C Clement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The variability in the zonally averaged atmospheric meridional circulation over the last 150 years is investigated using two atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs). A multi-decadal signal, with an approximately 70 year timescale, is identified in the cross-equatorial circulation. This signal is associated with a latitudinal shift in the ascending branch of the Hadley cell and precipitation in the tropics, as well as a change in the atmospheric meridional heat transport. These changes are well-correlated with the inter-hemispheric SST difference: When Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are colder than the Southern Hemisphere, the ITCZ and precipitation shift to the south in a zonal mean sense, and the northward atmospheric energy transport increases. Previous studies with idealized climate forcings have shown similar results, but the findings presented here highlight the potential relevance of the inter-hemispheric SST contrast for understanding 20th century climate changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL06704
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 28 2009

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sea surface temperature
meridional circulation
atmospheric circulation
Atmospheric General Circulation Models
Hadley cell
climate forcing
shift
intertropical convergence zone
atmospheric general circulation model
Southern Hemisphere
climate change
Northern Hemisphere
tropical regions
climate
temperature gradients
timescale
heat
cells
energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Geophysics

Cite this

Simulated variability in the mean atmospheric meridional circulation over the 20th century. / Mantsis, Damianos F.; Clement, Amy C.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, No. 6, L06704, 28.03.2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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