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Wind variations may spur climate change

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Madrid (UPI) Feb 27, 2008
A team of Spanish and German scientists has simulated the Earth's climate during the Last Glacial Maximum, which occurred about 21,000 years ago.

Such simulations, the researchers said, are a challenge for climate modeling, especially for the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or AMOC, that regulates climate by distributing heat to the world's oceans and involves deepwater formation in the North Atlantic.

To characterize the AMOC during the LGM, models must accurately simulate surface winds that facilitate horizontal and vertical ocean mixing, the scientists said, but wind fields during the LGM aren't well understood.

Marisa Montoya of the Department of Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Madrid and Anders Levermann of Potsdam University in Germany created a model by assuming LGM wind stresses are proportional to those experienced today.

The researchers discovered that below certain thresholds of wind strength, North Atlantic deepwater formation occurs south of Greenland and the AMOC is relatively weak. Above that threshold, deepwater formation occurs farther north, leading to a vigorous AMOC.

Those findings, they said, suggest subtle wind variations can significantly influence Earth's climate, perhaps even spurring abrupt climate changes.

The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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Monsoon intensity driven by Earth's orbit: study
Paris (AFP) Feb 27, 2008
The monsoon rains that drench tropical and subtropical Asia from June through September vary in duration and intensity in keeping with tiny wobbles in Earth's orbit as it circles the Sun, according to a study released Wednesday.

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