eCite Digital Repository

Model tropical Atlantic biases underpin diminished Pacific decadal variability


McGregor, S and Stuecker, MF and Kajtar, JB and England, MH and Collins, M, Model tropical Atlantic biases underpin diminished Pacific decadal variability, Nature Climate Change, 8 pp. 493-498. ISSN 1758-678X (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0163-4


Pacific trade winds have displayed unprecedented strengthening in recent decades. This strengthening has been associated with east Pacific sea surface cooling and the early twenty-first-century slowdown in global surface warming, amongst a host of other substantial impacts. Although some climate models produce the timing of these recently observed trends, they all fail to produce the trend magnitude. This may in part be related to the apparent model underrepresentation of low-frequency Pacific Ocean variability and decadal wind trends or be due to a misrepresentation of a forced response or a combination of both. An increasingly prominent connection between the Pacific and Atlantic basins has been identified as a key driver of this strengthening of the Pacific trade winds. Here we use targeted climate model experiments to show that combining the recent Atlantic warming trend with the typical climate model bias leads to a substantially underestimated response for the Pacific Ocean wind and surface temperature. The underestimation largely stems from a reduction and eastward shift of the atmospheric heating response to the tropical Atlantic warming trend. This result suggests that the recent Pacific trends and model decadal variability may be better captured by models with improved mean-state climatologies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, trade winds, climate variability
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Atmospheric sciences
Research Field:Atmospheric dynamics
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Air quality, atmosphere and weather
Objective Field:Atmospheric processes and dynamics
UTAS Author:Kajtar, JB (Dr Jules Kajtar)
ID Code:133145
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:61
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2019-06-13
Last Modified:2019-07-10

Repository Staff Only: item control page