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Changes in oceanic and atmospheric poleward heat transport; relation to changes in circulation and stability

PI: Wilco Hazeleger
Institution: KNMI
Additional Investigators: S.S. Drijfhout
One of the most fundamental features of climate is the poleward heat transport by atmosphere and oceans. The partitioning between atmospheric and oceanic heat transport is not trivial. Recent studies show that in the tropics atmospheric and oceanic heat transport changes may act in concert while others argue that they compensate in the midlatitudes. Changes in heat transport relate to changes in stability and circulation of both the atmosphere and ocean. It is unclear how the climate reorganizes under greenhouse forcing to accommodate these changes. Projections will differ as the mean circulation (e.g. atmospheric cells, storm tracks, MOC, gyres) and major modes of variability such ENSO and the NAO respond different in different numerical models, which calls for the need of multi-model ensembles. We intend to analyze the response of the heat transport to changes in radiative forcing and relate it to circulation changes in atmosphere and ocean. This analysis will give a succinct description of global change simulated by the IPCC models and put it into a dynamic perspective.

-Determine the decadal ensemble mean and spread of oceanic and atmospheric poleward heat transport and its different components in the 20th and 21st century from the multi-model IPCC model output (gyre, overturning, transient eddy, standing eddy)
-Relate the changes of poleward heat transport to changes in circulation and to changes in stability
-Relate the changes of poleward heat transport to changes in major modes of climate variability (in particular, ENSO, PDO, TAV, NAO, SAM)

Coupled model data requirements (if possible monthly means, if datasets become too large annual means on many variables can be sufficient; data from 20th century control and a 21st century perturbed, either SRES A1B or B1):

Oceanic data:
Total, gyre, overturning, and eddy heat transport (total and per basin).
meridional velocity (gridpoint)
temperature (gridpoint)
meridional mass overturning circulation (total and per basin)

Atmospheric data:
meridional velocity (gridpoint)
temperature (gridpoint)
humidity (gridpoint)
eddy fluxes of heat and moisture transport (vT and vq; gridpoint)
surface fluxes (latent, sensible, radiative; gridpoint)
top of the atmosphere fluxes (gridpoint)
sea level pressure (gridpoint)
  • Breugem, W.-P., W. Hazeleger, and R.J. Haarsma, 2006: Multi-model study of tropical Atlantic variability and change. Geophys. Res. Lett.. Submitted. Abstract. Full Article. Edit.
  • Hazeleger, W., 2005: Can global warming affect tropical ocean heat transport. Geoph. Res. Lett., 32, 10.1029/2005GL023450. Abstract. Edit.
  • Katsman, C.A., and W. Hazeleger, S.S. Drijfhout, G.J. van Oldenborgh, G. Burgers, 2008: Climate scenarios of sea level rise for the northeast Atlantic Ocean: a study including the effects of ocean dynamics and gravity changes induced by ice melt. Climatic Change, 91, 351-374, 10.1007/s10584-008-9442-9. Abstract. Full Article. Edit.
  • van der Swaluw, E., Drijfhout, S.S., and W. Hazeleger, 2007: Bjerknes compensation at high Northern latitudes: The ocean forcing the atmosphere. J. Climate, 20, 6023-6032, DOI: 10.1175/2007JCLI1562.1. Abstract. Full Article. Edit.

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