Weakening of tropical Pacific atmospheric circulation due to anthropogenic forcing

Vecchi, Gabriel A.; Soden, Brian J.; Wittenberg, Andrew T.; Held, Isaac M.; Leetmaa, Ants; Harrison, Matthew J.
May 2006
Nature;5/4/2006, Vol. 441 Issue 7089, p73
Academic Journal
Since the mid-nineteenth century the Earth's surface has warmed, and models indicate that human activities have caused part of the warming by altering the radiative balance of the atmosphere. Simple theories suggest that global warming will reduce the strength of the mean tropical atmospheric circulation. An important aspect of this tropical circulation is a large-scale zonal (east–west) overturning of air across the equatorial Pacific Ocean—driven by convection to the west and subsidence to the east—known as the Walker circulation. Here we explore changes in tropical Pacific circulation since the mid-nineteenth century using observations and a suite of global climate model experiments. Observed Indo-Pacific sea level pressure reveals a weakening of the Walker circulation. The size of this trend is consistent with theoretical predictions, is accurately reproduced by climate model simulations and, within the climate models, is largely due to anthropogenic forcing. The climate model indicates that the weakened surface winds have altered the thermal structure and circulation of the tropical Pacific Ocean. These results support model projections of further weakening of tropical atmospheric circulation during the twenty-first century.


Related Articles

  • Did You Know? Pietraccini, Meghan // Teen Ink;Mar2007, Vol. 18 Issue 7, p13 

    The article contends that the issue of global warming must be taken seriously. The author said that global warming is presenting many problems. He believed that U.S. citizens must step up and aid in preserving the planet. This is not a situation to take lightly because global warming affects...

  • SN Ellen Explains.  // Scholastic News -- Edition 5/6;11/27/2006, Vol. 74 Issue 9, p5 

    The article deals with statistics concerning issues children in the U.S. think might affect them. Most of the respondents agreed that environment and global warming have an impact on them. Fourteen percent argued that the war in Iraq affect them. Eleven percent stated that gas prices have an...

  • Modellers deplore 'short-termism' on climate. Schiermeier, Quirin // Nature;4/8/2004, Vol. 428 Issue 6983, p593 

    Projections of climate change in, say, Florida or the Alps carry more political weight than vague warnings about global warming. And for almost two decades, specialists in regional climate assessment have sought to make such projections. But their success has been limited, a meeting of...

  • Antarctic warming.  // New Scientist;6/25/94, Vol. 142 Issue 1931, p11 

    Focuses on the increase in the average winter temperatures in the Antarctic. Support for claims of global warming; Data from the British Antarctic Survey's Faraday research station in Antarctica.

  • Major Extreme Climatic Events in China: 1956-2009.  // CO2 Science;3/21/2012, Vol. 15 Issue 12, p7 

    The article presents an analysis of the overall trend of changes in the frequencies of major extreme climatic events in mainland China from 1956-2009, with the use of an Integrated Extreme Climatic Index (IECI). The study found that in the context of significant global warming, there was either...

  • Kyoto at last?  // New Scientist;5/29/2004, Vol. 182 Issue 2449, p5 

    Further economic globalization could be the price to pay for reducing global warming. On May 21, 2004 Russian president Vladimir Putin gave his strongest hint yet that Russia would sign up to the Kyoto protocol on climate change if granted membership of the World Trade Organization. He stopped...

  • Water Vapor-Forced Greenhouse Warming over the Sahara Desert and the Recent Recovery from the Sahelian Drought. Evan, Amato T.; Flamant, Cyrille; Lavaysse, Christophe; Kocha, Cécile; Saci, Azzedine // Journal of Climate;Jan2015, Vol. 28 Issue 1, p108 

    The Sahel region of West Africa experiences decadal swings between periods of drought and abundant rainfall, and a large body of work asserts that these variations in the West African monsoon are a response to changes in the temperatures of the tropical Atlantic and Indian Oceans. However, here...

  • Keeping cool about `warming.' Bernstein, Sid // Advertising Age;9/7/1992, Vol. 63 Issue 36, p16 

    Comments on a discussion by Robert James Bidinotto in the March 1990 issue of The Reader's Digest, about global warming. Reaction to Bidinotto's warning that the temptation to bend fears for political ends is ever present; Response of residents of the Midwest to the discussion.

  • The spring, summer or winter of our senses. Tatum, Wilbert A. // New York Amsterdam News;11/15/2007, Vol. 98 Issue 47, p12 

    The article presents the author's comments on the implications of global warming. It is viewed that it may be true that the globe is warming and the icebergs that the mankind is used to know will not be there in 2008. But, the author holds that, to believe honestly that the walk of the penguins...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics