176 research outputs found

    Meridional shifts of the Atlantic intertropical convergence zone since the Last Glacial Maximum

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    The intertropical convergence zone is a near-equatorial band of intense rainfall and convection. Over the modern Atlantic Ocean, its annual average position is approximately 5° N, and it is associated with low sea surface salinity and high surface temperatures. This average position has varied since the Last Glacial Maximum, in response to changing climate boundary conditions. The nature of this variation is less clear, with suggestions that the intertropical convergence zone migrated north–south away from the colder hemisphere or that it contracted and expanded symmetrically around its present position2. Here we use paired Mg/Ca and δ18O measurements of planktonic foraminifera for a transect of ocean sediment cores to reconstruct past changes in tropical surface ocean temperature and salinity in the Atlantic Ocean over the past 25,000 years. We show that the low-salinity, high-temperature surface waters associated with the intertropical convergence zone migrated southward of their present position during the Last Glacial Maximum, when the Northern Hemisphere cooled, and northward during the warmer early Holocene, by about ±7° of latitude. Our evidence suggests that the intertropical convergence zone moved latitudinally over the ocean, rather than expanding or contracting. We conclude that the marine intertropical convergence zone has migrated significantly away from its present position owing to external climate forcing during the past 25,000 years

    2,000-year-long temperature and hydrology reconstructions from the Indo-Pacific warm pool

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    Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Nature Publishing Group for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Nature 460 (2009): 1113-1116, doi:10.1038/nature08233.Northern Hemisphere surface temperature reconstructions suggest that the late twentieth century was warmer than any other time during the past 500 years and possibly any time during the past 1,300 years. These temperature reconstructions are based largely on terrestrial records from extra-tropical or highelevation sites; however, global average surface temperature changes closely follow those of the global tropics, which are 75% ocean. In particular, the tropical Indo- Pacific warm pool (IPWP) represents a major heat reservoir that both influences global atmospheric circulation and responds to remote northern latitude forcings. Here we present a decadally resolved continuous sea surface temperature (SST) reconstruction from the IPWP that spans the past two millennia and overlaps the instrumental record, enabling both a direct comparison of proxy data to the instrumental record and an evaluation of past changes in the context of twentieth century trends. Our record from the Makassar Strait, Indonesia, exhibits trends that are similar to a recent Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction. Reconstructed SST was, however, within error of modern values during the Medieval Warm Period from about AD 1000 to AD 1250, towards the end of the Medieval Warm Period. SSTs during the Little Ice Age (approximately ad 1550–1850) were variable, and 0.5 to 1°C colder than modern values during the coldest intervals. A companion reconstruction of δ18O of sea water—a sea surface salinity and hydrology indicator— indicates a tight coupling with the East Asian monsoon system and remote control of IPWP hydrology on centennial–millennial timescales, rather than a dominant influence from local SST variation.This work was financially supported by the US NSF and the Ocean Climate Change Institute of WHOI

    Coupled atmosphere–mixed layer ocean response to ocean heat flux convergence along the Kuroshio Current Extension

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    Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2010. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Climate Dynamics 36 (2011): 2295-2312, doi:10.1007/s00382-010-0764-8.The winter response of the coupled atmosphere-ocean mixed layer system to anomalous geostrophic ocean heat flux convergence in the Kuroshio Extension is investigated by means of experiments with an atmospheric general circulation model coupled to an entraining ocean mixed layer model in the extra-tropics. The direct response consists of positive SST anomalies along the Kuroshio Extension and a baroclinic (low-level trough and upper-level ridge) circulation anomaly over the North Pacific. The low-level component of this atmospheric circulation response is weaker in the case without coupling to an extratropical ocean mixed layer, especially in late winter. The inclusion of an interactive mixed layer in the tropics modifies the direct coupled atmospheric response due to a northward displacement of the Pacific Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone which drives an equivalent barotropic anomalous ridge over the North Pacific. Although the tropically-driven component of the North Pacific atmospheric circulation response is comparable to the direct response in terms of sea level pressure amplitude, it is less important in terms of wind stress curl amplitude due to the mitigating effect of the relatively broad spatial scale of the tropically-forced atmospheric teleconnection.We gratefully acknowledge financial support from NOAA’s Office of Global Programs (grant to C. Deser and Y.-O. Kwon). Y.-O. Kwon is also supported through the Claudia Heyman Fellowship of the WHOI Ocean Climate Change Institute

    The 1983 drought in the West Sahel: a case study

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    Some drought years over sub-Saharan west Africa (1972, 1977, 1984) have been previously related to a cross-equatorial Atlantic gradient pattern with anomalously warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) south of 10°N and anomalously cold SSTs north of 10°N. This SST dipole-like pattern was not characteristic of 1983, the third driest summer of the twentieth century in the Sahel. This study presents evidence that the dry conditions that persisted over the west Sahel in 1983 were mainly forced by high Indian Ocean SSTs that were probably remanent from the strong 1982/1983 El Niño event. The synchronous Pacific impact of the 1982/1983 El Niño event on west African rainfall was however, quite weak. Prior studies have mainly suggested that the Indian Ocean SSTs impact the decadal-scale rainfall variability over the west Sahel. This study demonstrates that the Indian Ocean also significantly affects inter-annual rainfall variability over the west Sahel and that it was the main forcing for the drought over the west Sahel in 1983

    The intertropical convergence zone modulates intense hurricane strikes on the western North Atlantic margin

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    © The Author(s), 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Scientific Reports 6 (2016): 21728, doi:10.1038/srep21728Most Atlantic hurricanes form in the Main Development Region between 9°N to 20°N along the northern edge of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Previous research has suggested that meridional shifts in the ITCZ position on geologic timescales can modulate hurricane activity, but continuous and long-term storm records are needed from multiple sites to assess this hypothesis. Here we present a 3000 year record of intense hurricane strikes in the northern Bahamas (Abaco Island) based on overwash deposits in a coastal sinkhole, which indicates that the ITCZ has likely helped modulate intense hurricane strikes on the western North Atlantic margin on millennial to centennial-scales. The new reconstruction closely matches a previous reconstruction from Puerto Rico, and documents a period of elevated intense hurricane activity on the western North Atlantic margin from 2500 to 1000 years ago when paleo precipitation proxies suggest that the ITCZ occupied a more northern position. Considering that anthropogenic warming is predicted to be focused in the northern hemisphere in the coming century, these results provide a prehistoric analog that an attendant northern ITCZ shift in the future may again return the western North Atlantic margin to an active hurricane interval.This research was supported by NSF Awards: OCE-1519578, OCE-1356708, BCS-1118340
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