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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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Anthropogenic sulfate aerosol and the southward shift of tropical precipitation in the late 20th century

Cited 22 times inthomson ciCited 7 times inthomson ci
Title
Anthropogenic sulfate aerosol and the southward shift of tropical precipitation in the late 20th century
Author
Hwang, Yen-TingFrierson, Dargan M. W.Kang, Sarah M.
Keywords
climate change and variability; climate dynamics; clouds and aerosols; global climate models
Issue Date
201306
Publisher
AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
Citation
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, v.40, no.11, pp.2845 - 2850
Abstract
In this paper, we demonstrate a global scale southward shift of the tropical rain belt during the latter half of the 20th century in observations and global climate models (GCMs). In rain gauge data, the southward shift maximizes in the 1980s and is associated with signals in Africa, Asia, and South America. A southward shift exists at a similar time in nearly all CMIP3 and CMIP5 historical simulations, and occurs on both land and ocean, although in most models the shifts are significantly less than in observations. Utilizing a theoretical framework based on atmospheric energetics, we perform an attribution of the zonal mean southward shift of precipitation across a large suite of CMIP3 and CMIP5 GCMs. Our results suggest that anthropogenic aerosol cooling of the Northern Hemisphere is the primary cause of the consistent southward shift across GCMs, although other processes affecting the atmospheric energy budget also contribute to the model-to-model spread.
URI
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DOI
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/grl.50502
ISSN
0094-8276
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