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Author

Kang, Sarah M.
Climate Dynamics Lab
Research Interests
  • Climate change, ITCZ, Atmospheric general circulation, Polar amplification

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Contrasting the tropical responses to zonally asymmetric extratropical and tropical thermal forcing

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Title
Contrasting the tropical responses to zonally asymmetric extratropical and tropical thermal forcing
Author
Kang, Sarah M.Held, Isaac M.Xie, Shang-Ping
Keywords
AMOC; Zonal advection; Zonal homogenization
Issue Date
201404
Publisher
SPRINGER
Citation
CLIMATE DYNAMICS, v.42, no.7-8, pp.2033 - 2043
Abstract
The mechanism is investigated by which extratropical thermal forcing with a finite zonal extent produces global impact. The goal is to understand the near-global response to a weakened Atlantic meridional overturning circulation suggested by paleoclimate data and modeling studies. An atmospheric model coupled to an aquaplanet slab mixed layer ocean, in which the unperturbed climate is zonally symmetric, is perturbed by prescribing cooling of the mixed layer in the Northern Hemisphere and heating of equal magnitude in the Southern Hemisphere, over some finite range of longitudes. In the case of heating/cooling confined to the extratropics, the zonally asymmetric forcing is homogenized by midlatitude westerlies and extratropical eddies before passing on to the tropics, inducing a zonally symmetric tropical response. In addition, the zonal mean responses vary little as the zonal extent of the forced region is changed, holding the zonal mean heating fixed, implying little impact of stationary eddies on the zonal mean. In contrast, when the heating/cooling is confined to the tropics, the zonally asymmetric forcing produces a highly localized response with slight westward extension, due to advection by mean easterly trade winds. Regardless of the forcing location, neither the spatial structure nor the zonal mean responses are strongly affected by wind-evaporation-sea surface temperature feedback.
URI
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DOI
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00382-013-1863-0
ISSN
0930-7575
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