Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Model Helps Scientists Home In On Tropical Climate Controls

22.05.2003


It has long been known that tropical climate - by redistributing vast amounts of solar energy through welling hot air and the formation of towering cumulous clouds - influences weather in other parts of the world.

It remains unclear, however, how much the tropics can be affected by higher latitudes.
Now, with the help of a sophisticated computer model, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have shown that vast atmospheric "bridges" and oceanic "tunnels," created by overturning air and water, link the high latitudes to the tropics and can warm ocean temperature near the equator.


The finding, reported in the May 13 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, has implications for better understanding global and regional climate change, and is the first to identify high-latitude phenomena that significantly influence climate in the equatorial regions of the world.

The prevailing wisdom, according to Zhengyu Liu, lead author of the paper and director of UW-Madison’s Center for Climatic Research, was that climate and weather phenomena at higher latitudes tended to be static, with no far-reaching influence.

"That was the conventional thinking," he says. "But our model shows that these phenomena are equally weighted, that climate and weather at higher latitudes have as much of an influence on the tropics as tropical weather and climate influence the higher latitudes. Both are very important."

The discovery reveals a hidden climate mechanism that may be of critical importance to studies of past and future global and regional climate change, says Liu.

According to the scenario depicted by the modeling experiments conducted by Liu and colleague Haijun Yang, the heat carried via the atmospheric bridges from the tropics to higher latitudes is reduced as a result of warming climate in the higher latitudes. At the same time, warm extratropical water is funneled into the subsurface oceanic tunnels and is carried to the equator where it upwells and warms the tropical ocean.

The study suggests that even a 2-degree Celsius warming of the ocean in regions beyond the tropics can raise ocean surface and subsurface temperatures in the tropics by as much as 1 degree Celsius as less warm air flows out of the tropics and warm, extratropical water is channeled toward the equator by the oceanic tunnels depicted in the study.

"That is a significant change" in temperature, says Liu. "It is fundamentally important."

The new study, says Liu, provides a missing piece of the climate puzzle. It will enable scientists to gain more insight into climate and climate change as an unknown mechanism is revealed and added to the mix of variables that researchers must grasp as they wrestle with the hugely complex problem of understanding and forecasting climate change.

"The magnitude of this influence and the relative contributions of the atmospheric bridge and oceanic tunnel have remained uncertain," Liu says. "But we have found that the extratropics exert a strong control on tropical climate. This is our first estimate of the extratropical influence on the tropics."

The Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a leading center of research into world climate. It is a part of the UW-Madison Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Terry Devitt | University of Wisconsin
Further information:
http://www.news.wisc.edu/releases/view.html?id=8687

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht The lower mantle can be oxidized in the presence of water
25.05.2020 | Science China Press

nachricht New technique separates industrial noise from natural seismic signals
20.05.2020 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

Im Focus: NASA's Curiosity rover finds clues to chilly ancient Mars buried in rocks

By studying the chemical elements on Mars today -- including carbon and oxygen -- scientists can work backwards to piece together the history of a planet that once had the conditions necessary to support life.

Weaving this story, element by element, from roughly 140 million miles (225 million kilometers) away is a painstaking process. But scientists aren't the type...

Im Focus: Making quantum 'waves' in ultrathin materials

Study co-led by Berkeley Lab reveals how wavelike plasmons could power up a new class of sensing and photochemical technologies at the nanoscale

Wavelike, collective oscillations of electrons known as "plasmons" are very important for determining the optical and electronic properties of metals.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology can detect anti-virus antibody in 20 minutes

25.05.2020 | Medical Engineering

ATLAS telescope discovers first-of-its-kind asteroid

25.05.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers develop high-performance cancer vaccine using novel microcapsules

25.05.2020 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>