Coupling of Trade Winds with Ocean Circulation Damps ITCZ Shifts

Coupling of Trade Winds with Ocean Circulation Damps ITCZ Shifts AbstractThe position of the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is sensitive to the atmosphere’s hemispheric energy balance, lying in the hemisphere most strongly heated by radiative and turbulent surface energy fluxes. This study examines how the ocean circulation, through its cross-equatorial energy transport and associated surface energy fluxes, affects the ITCZ’s response to an imposed inter-hemispheric heating contrast in a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model. Shifts of the ITCZ are strongly damped due to a robust coupling between the atmosphere’s Hadley cells and ocean’s sub-tropical cells by the trade winds and their associated surface stresses. An anomalous oceanic wind-driven cross-equatorial cell transports energy across the equator, strongly offsetting the imposed heating contrast. The circulation of this cell can be described by the combination of trade wind anomalies and the meridional gradient of sea surface temperature, which sets the temperature contrast between its upper and lower branches. The ability of the wind-driven ocean circulation to damp ITCZ shifts represents a previously unappreciated constraint on the atmosphere’s energy budget, and indicates that the position of the ITCZ may be much less sensitive to inter-hemispheric heating contrasts than previously thought. Climatic implications of this damping are discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Climate American Meteorological Society

Coupling of Trade Winds with Ocean Circulation Damps ITCZ Shifts

Journal of Climate , Volume preprint (2017): 1 – Mar 8, 2017

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0442
eISSN
1520-0442
D.O.I.
10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0818.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThe position of the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is sensitive to the atmosphere’s hemispheric energy balance, lying in the hemisphere most strongly heated by radiative and turbulent surface energy fluxes. This study examines how the ocean circulation, through its cross-equatorial energy transport and associated surface energy fluxes, affects the ITCZ’s response to an imposed inter-hemispheric heating contrast in a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model. Shifts of the ITCZ are strongly damped due to a robust coupling between the atmosphere’s Hadley cells and ocean’s sub-tropical cells by the trade winds and their associated surface stresses. An anomalous oceanic wind-driven cross-equatorial cell transports energy across the equator, strongly offsetting the imposed heating contrast. The circulation of this cell can be described by the combination of trade wind anomalies and the meridional gradient of sea surface temperature, which sets the temperature contrast between its upper and lower branches. The ability of the wind-driven ocean circulation to damp ITCZ shifts represents a previously unappreciated constraint on the atmosphere’s energy budget, and indicates that the position of the ITCZ may be much less sensitive to inter-hemispheric heating contrasts than previously thought. Climatic implications of this damping are discussed.

Journal

Journal of ClimateAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Mar 8, 2017

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