by Staff Writers
Miami FL (SPX) Nov 22, 2011
University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers have climate scientists rethinking a commonly held theory about the ocean's role in the global climate system.
The new findings can aid scientists in better understanding and predicting changes in the Pacific climate and its impacts around the globe.
According to the study's lead author, UM Rosenstiel School Professor Amy Clement, the tropical atmospheric pressure system know as the Southern Oscillation (a periodic fluctuation of atmospheric pressure commonly observed as the El Nino Southern Oscillation, which brings unusually warm water across the Pacific Ocean basin) plays a bigger, more fundamental role in the climate system than just being El Nino's atmospheric counterpart.
Scientists have long believed that the Southern Oscillation exists due to its connection to the ocean.
"This study changes the textbook version of one of the most fundamental aspects of atmospheric circulation," said Clement, whose study was published in the August 2011 issue of American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate.
In two sets of experiments, Clement, recent UM alumnus Pedro DiNezio, and co-author Clara Deser from the National Center for Atmospheric Research modeled two climate scenarios - one with a static, current-free ocean and another with a fully dynamic ocean.
The team showed that atmospheric pressure, surface temperature, and precipitation were the same in both ocean scenarios, which reveals that the Southern Oscillations global signature is still present even when the ocean and atmosphere are disconnected.
In a news item in the Sept. 29 issue of the journal Nature, Research Institute for Global Change scientists Jing-Jia Luo said, "...Clement et al. argue impressively that it is not necessary to couple ocean dynamics to the atmosphere in models to reproduce tropical climate modes and their associated global connections."
British physicist Sir Gilbert Walker discovered the Southern Oscillation in the early 20th century when trying to understand and predict India's monsoons, which caused torrential rains and widespread famine in the region.
He proved that this large-scale sea-level pressure in the tropics connected India's weather with other weather patterns across the world.
"This new development can help link climate patterns between distant region, such as rainfall patterns in Australia and drought in the Southwestern U.S.," said Clement.
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
La Nina returns, but weaker impact seen: UN weather agency
Geneva (AFP) Nov 17, 2011
The UN weather agency said on Thursday that La Nina, a phenomenon linked to flooding and drought, had re-emerged in the tropical Pacific since August but its impact is expected to be weaker this time. "This La Nina is expected to persist through the end of this year and into early 2012, possibly strengthening to moderate intensity," said the World Meteorological Organisation in a statement. ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|