The Tropospheric Land-Sea Warming Contrast as the Driver of Tropical Sea Level Pressure Changes.

Bayr, Tobias and Dommenget, Dietmar (2013) The Tropospheric Land-Sea Warming Contrast as the Driver of Tropical Sea Level Pressure Changes. Open Access Journal of Climate, 26 (4). pp. 1387-1402. DOI 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00731.1.

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In this article we address the causes of the large-scale tropical sea level pressure (SLP) changes during climate change. The analysis we present is based on model simulations, observed trends and the seasonal cycle. In all three cases the regional changes of tropospheric temperature (Ttropos) and SLP are strongly related to each other (considerably stronger than (sea) surface temperature and SLP). This relationship basically follows the Bjerknes Circulation Theorem, with relatively low regional SLP where we have relatively high Ttropos and vice versa. A simple physical model suggests a tropical SLP response to horizontally inhomogeneous warming in the tropical Ttropos, with a sensitivity coefficient of about -1.7 hPa/K. This relationship explains a large fraction of observed and predicted changes in the tropical SLP.

It is shown that in climate change model simulations the tropospheric land-sea warming contrast is the most significant structure in the regional Ttropos changes relative to the tropical mean changes. Since the land-sea warming contrast exists in the absent of any atmospheric circulation changes it can be argued that the large-scale response of tropical SLP changes is to first order a response to the tropical land-sea warming contrast. Further, as land-sea warming contrast is mostly available moisture dependent, the models predict a stronger warming and decreasing SLP in the drier regions from South America to Africa and a weaker warming and increasing SLP over the wetter Indo-Pacific warm pool region. This suggests an increase in the potential for deep convection conditions over the Atlantic Sector and a decrease over the Indo-Pacific warm pool region in the future.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000315466700017
Keywords: SLP; Sea level pressure; climate change; circulation; model; variability; Pacific Ocean
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-ME Maritime Meteorology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: AMS (American Meteorological Society)
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2012 13:37
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2022 10:43

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