Factors controlling Hadley circulation changes from the Last Glacial Maximum to the end of the 21st century

Roberta D'Agostino, Piero Lionello, Ori Adam, Tapio Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Hadley circulation (HC) extent and strength are analyzed in a wide range of simulated climates from the Last Glacial Maximum to global warming scenarios. Motivated by HC theories, we analyze how the HC is influenced by the subtropical stability, the near-surface meridional potential temperature gradient, and the tropical tropopause level. The subtropical static stability accounts for the bulk of the HC changes across the simulations. However, since it correlates strongly with global mean surface temperature, most HC changes can be attributed to global mean surface temperature changes. The HC widens as the climate warms, and it also weakens, but only robustly so in the Northern Hemisphere. On the other hand, the Southern Hemisphere strength response is uncertain, in part because subtropical static stability changes counteract meridional potential temperature gradient changes to various degrees in different models, with no consensus on the response of the latter to global warming.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)8585-8591
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume44
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Hadley circulation
  • PMIP3-CMIP5 climate models
  • climate change

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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