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Title: Final Scientific Report for "The Interhemispheric Pattern in 20th Century and Future Abrupt Change in Regional Tropical Rainfall"

Abstract

This is the final scientific report for grant DOE-FG02-08ER64588, "The Interhemispheric Pattern in 20th Century and Future Abrupt Change in Regional Tropical Rainfall."The project investigates the role of the interhemispheric pattern in surface temperature – i.e. the contrast between the northern and southern temperature changes – in driving rapid changes to tropical rainfall changes over the 20th century and future climates. Previous observational and modeling studies have shown that the tropical rainband – the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) over marine regions, and the summer monsoonal rainfall over land – are sensitive to the interhemispheric thermal contrast; but that the link between the two has not been applied to interpreting long-term tropical rainfall changes over the 20th century and future.The specific goals of the project were to i) develop dynamical mechanisms to explain the link between the interhemispheric pattern to abrupt changes of West African and Asian monsoonal rainfall; ii) Undertake a formal detection and attribution study on the interhemispheric pattern in 20th century climate; and iii) assess the likelihood of changes to this pattern in the future. In line with these goals, our project has produced the following significant results: 1.We have developed a case that suggests that the well-knownmore » abrupt weakening of the West African monsoon in the late 1960s was part of a wider co-ordinated weakening of the West African and Asian monsoons, and driven from an abrupt cooling in the high latitude North Atlantic sea surface temperature at the same time. Our modeling work suggests that the high-latitude North Atlantic cooling is effective in driving monsoonal weakening, through driving a cooling of the Northern hemisphere that is amplified by positive radiative feedbacks. 2.We have shown that anthropogenic sulfate aerosols may have partially contributed to driving a progressively southward displacement of the Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) over the course of the 20th century prior to the 1980s. This is based on our detection and attribution analysis of 20th century simulations done by international modeling groups as part of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3). We repeated the same analysis with the current CMIP5 multimodel simulations, with essentially similar results. 3.Future projections of the global interhemispheric thermal gradient suggest a pronounced trend that well exceeds the 20th century range of behavior. The major cause of this trend is due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, acting in such a way as to warm the North more than the South. This result is based on our analysis of the CMIP3 and 5 simulations of future scenarios. The underlying suggestion is that tropical rainfall may concentrate more northwards in the future climate, though further research is required to more firmly establish that result.Taken together, our results shows the important role of the interhemispheric thermal gradient in determining tropical rainfall changes in the 20th century and future. Our analysis specifically highlights high-latitude North Atlantic sea surface temperature, and anthropogenic sulfate aerosols, as important drivers of the interhemispheric gradient over the 20th century; and anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the 21st. The PI has written a review paper in order to promote the awareness of the interhemispheric gradient amongst the climate science community.Our project was instrumental in developing the career of a postdoctoral scholar, as well as contributing to the research training of three Ph.D. candidates.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. University of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1053805
Report Number(s):
DOE/-08ER64588-1
DOE Contract Number:  
FG02-08ER64588
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Abrupt Climate Change; Tropical Rainfall

Citation Formats

Chiang, John C. H., and Wehner, Michael F.. Final Scientific Report for "The Interhemispheric Pattern in 20th Century and Future Abrupt Change in Regional Tropical Rainfall". United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.2172/1053805.
Chiang, John C. H., & Wehner, Michael F.. Final Scientific Report for "The Interhemispheric Pattern in 20th Century and Future Abrupt Change in Regional Tropical Rainfall". United States. doi:10.2172/1053805.
Chiang, John C. H., and Wehner, Michael F.. Mon . "Final Scientific Report for "The Interhemispheric Pattern in 20th Century and Future Abrupt Change in Regional Tropical Rainfall"". United States. doi:10.2172/1053805. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1053805.
@article{osti_1053805,
title = {Final Scientific Report for "The Interhemispheric Pattern in 20th Century and Future Abrupt Change in Regional Tropical Rainfall"},
author = {Chiang, John C. H. and Wehner, Michael F.},
abstractNote = {This is the final scientific report for grant DOE-FG02-08ER64588, "The Interhemispheric Pattern in 20th Century and Future Abrupt Change in Regional Tropical Rainfall."The project investigates the role of the interhemispheric pattern in surface temperature – i.e. the contrast between the northern and southern temperature changes – in driving rapid changes to tropical rainfall changes over the 20th century and future climates. Previous observational and modeling studies have shown that the tropical rainband – the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) over marine regions, and the summer monsoonal rainfall over land – are sensitive to the interhemispheric thermal contrast; but that the link between the two has not been applied to interpreting long-term tropical rainfall changes over the 20th century and future.The specific goals of the project were to i) develop dynamical mechanisms to explain the link between the interhemispheric pattern to abrupt changes of West African and Asian monsoonal rainfall; ii) Undertake a formal detection and attribution study on the interhemispheric pattern in 20th century climate; and iii) assess the likelihood of changes to this pattern in the future. In line with these goals, our project has produced the following significant results: 1.We have developed a case that suggests that the well-known abrupt weakening of the West African monsoon in the late 1960s was part of a wider co-ordinated weakening of the West African and Asian monsoons, and driven from an abrupt cooling in the high latitude North Atlantic sea surface temperature at the same time. Our modeling work suggests that the high-latitude North Atlantic cooling is effective in driving monsoonal weakening, through driving a cooling of the Northern hemisphere that is amplified by positive radiative feedbacks. 2.We have shown that anthropogenic sulfate aerosols may have partially contributed to driving a progressively southward displacement of the Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) over the course of the 20th century prior to the 1980s. This is based on our detection and attribution analysis of 20th century simulations done by international modeling groups as part of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3). We repeated the same analysis with the current CMIP5 multimodel simulations, with essentially similar results. 3.Future projections of the global interhemispheric thermal gradient suggest a pronounced trend that well exceeds the 20th century range of behavior. The major cause of this trend is due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, acting in such a way as to warm the North more than the South. This result is based on our analysis of the CMIP3 and 5 simulations of future scenarios. The underlying suggestion is that tropical rainfall may concentrate more northwards in the future climate, though further research is required to more firmly establish that result.Taken together, our results shows the important role of the interhemispheric thermal gradient in determining tropical rainfall changes in the 20th century and future. Our analysis specifically highlights high-latitude North Atlantic sea surface temperature, and anthropogenic sulfate aerosols, as important drivers of the interhemispheric gradient over the 20th century; and anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the 21st. The PI has written a review paper in order to promote the awareness of the interhemispheric gradient amongst the climate science community.Our project was instrumental in developing the career of a postdoctoral scholar, as well as contributing to the research training of three Ph.D. candidates.},
doi = {10.2172/1053805},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Oct 29 00:00:00 EDT 2012},
month = {Mon Oct 29 00:00:00 EDT 2012}
}

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