Impact of mountains on tropical circulation in two Earth System Models

Impact of mountains on tropical circulation in two Earth System Models AbstractTwo state-of-the-art Earth System Models (ESMs) were used in an idealized experiment to explore the role of mountains in shaping Earth’s climate system. Similar to previous studies, removing mountains from both ESMs results in the winds becoming more zonal, and weaker Indian and Asian monsoon circulations. However, there are also broad changes to the Walker circulation and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Without orography, convection moves across the entire equatorial Indo-Pacific basin on interannual timescales. The ENSO has a stronger amplitude, lower frequency and increased regularity. A wider equatorial wind zone and changes to equatorial wind stress curl result in a colder cold tongue and a steeper equatorial thermocline across the Pacific basin during La Niña years. Anomalies associated with ENSO warm events are larger without mountains, and have greater impact on the mean tropical climate than when mountains are present. Without mountains the centennial-mean Pacific Walker circulation weakens in both models by ~45%, but the strength of the mean Hadley circulation changes by <2%. Changes in the Walker circulation in these experiments can be explained by the large spatial excursions of atmospheric deep convection on interannual timescales. These results suggest that mountains are an important control on the large-scale tropical circulation, impacting ENSO dynamics and the Walker circulation, but have little impact on the strength of the Hadley circulation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Climate American Meteorological Society

Impact of mountains on tropical circulation in two Earth System Models

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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-16-0512.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractTwo state-of-the-art Earth System Models (ESMs) were used in an idealized experiment to explore the role of mountains in shaping Earth’s climate system. Similar to previous studies, removing mountains from both ESMs results in the winds becoming more zonal, and weaker Indian and Asian monsoon circulations. However, there are also broad changes to the Walker circulation and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Without orography, convection moves across the entire equatorial Indo-Pacific basin on interannual timescales. The ENSO has a stronger amplitude, lower frequency and increased regularity. A wider equatorial wind zone and changes to equatorial wind stress curl result in a colder cold tongue and a steeper equatorial thermocline across the Pacific basin during La Niña years. Anomalies associated with ENSO warm events are larger without mountains, and have greater impact on the mean tropical climate than when mountains are present. Without mountains the centennial-mean Pacific Walker circulation weakens in both models by ~45%, but the strength of the mean Hadley circulation changes by <2%. Changes in the Walker circulation in these experiments can be explained by the large spatial excursions of atmospheric deep convection on interannual timescales. These results suggest that mountains are an important control on the large-scale tropical circulation, impacting ENSO dynamics and the Walker circulation, but have little impact on the strength of the Hadley circulation.

Journal

Journal of ClimateAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Feb 21, 2017

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