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Jacek Piskozub Institute of Oceanology PAS Sopot, Poland

Lecture 5: Climate change threats, (Part I: Changes in the climate of the tropic)

Ho Chi Minh City, December 2007

Jacek Piskozub “Klimat a ocean: wczoraj, dziś i jutro”,
kurs wykładów dla doktorantów 19.02-14.05.2007

Maszyna klimatyczna Ziemia (zmienność w skali geologicznej) Epoka lodowa w której żyjemy (zmienność w skali astronomicznej) Gwałtowne zmiany klimatu (deglacjacja, zmienność “suborbitalna”) Holocen: klimat, ocean a cywilizacja, (stała słoneczna i wulkanizm) Północny Atlantyk – kuźnia klimatu (cyrkulacja termohalinowa, NAO) Tropiki a zmienność klimatu (ENSO, huragany, monsuny) Aerozol: wielka niewiadoma klimatyczna Gazy o znaczeniu klimatycznym (cykl węgla, CO2, metan, DMS) Globalne ocieplenie a ocean (zmienność antropogeniczna) Zmiany klimatyczne w rejonach polarnych

A reminder: Earth atmospheric circulation

Climate of the tropics is ruled by the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) between two Hadley cells, which you can feel on the surface as the trade winds.

Inny widok tej samej cyrkulacji.

Walker circulation cell over the equatorial Pacific

Sir Gilbert Thomas Walker (1868 - 1958)‫‏‬

The general circulation pattern is more complicated over the Pacific where a convection cell exists also along the equator between a low in the West (close to South-East Asia) and a high in the East (close to South America).

Two phases of Walker circulation: „El Niño-Southern Oscillation” (ENSO)
The traditional view of ENSO: after a period of “normal” Walker circulation, a warm anomaly appears in the East Pacific . Because the date it was ofter detected off-Peru shores was close to Christmas, it was named “The [boy] baby” (El Niño). At present most researchers treat ENSO as a cycle of two metastable phases: : El Niño and La Niña, of which one is no more normal than the other. The ENSO cycle of 3-7 year period is the largest source of climate variability in the multiannual time scale.

Two phases of ENSO

La Niña

El Niño

ENSO-3 Index

Positive anomalies of equatorial East Pacific from the average are called El Niño, the negative ones La Niña. Variability with periods shorter than one year has been filtered out.

McPhaden 1999 (Science)‫‏‬

ENSO index in the 20th century

An alternative way of defining the ENSO phases, comparing the index to its multiannual “sliding” average of equatorial East Pacific temperatures. Using this approach both phases (La Niña oraz El Niño) are equally frequent almost by definition.
Fedorov & Philander 2000 (Science)‫‏‬

How do we know?

The array of instruments monitor oceanic conditions: blue lines are the tracks of commercial ships of opportunity, arrows show drifting buoys, yellow dots represent tide gauges measuring sea level, red diamonds and squares are buoys moored to the ocean floor.
Fedorov & Philander 2000 (Science)‫‏‬

Beginning of El Niño: October 1997

Sea surface temperature (SST) in October 1997 and its anomaly from a long term average for the month. The characteristic „warm wedge” close to South America is almost 5 deg warmer than the average.
Webster & Palmer 1997 (Nature)‫‏‬

Początki El Niño: 11.1996 - 10.1997

Anomaly from multiannual Pacific SST during the development of El Niño 1997/1998.

Webster & Palmer 1997 (Nature)‫‏‬

Developing El Niño:another view

Time evolution of wind anomaly (red means more Western), SST and 20° C isotherm depth (reds mean deeper).
McPhaden 1999 (Science)‫‏‬

Proof that ENSO is really cyclical

Time trajectory of potential energy caused by thermocline tilt (E) and power transferred by wind to ocean (W) shows the periodicity od ENSO (counterclockwise). The „grayed out” fragments are periods of westerly winds. The upper part of each graph is La Niña while the lower is El Niño.
Philander & Fedorov 2003 (Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci.)‫‏‬

World wide El Niño effects (old & simple view)

The El Niño phase causes measurable changes of precipitation in most Earth areas: drought in Indonesia, Australia, Middle America (hence less hurricanes hurricanes in El Niño years), Eastern Africa and India (weak monsoon), while parts of the United States and Argentina have increased precipitation.

Rosenzweig 1994 (Nature) after Nicholls 1993

A more modern view of ENSO climate influence

The influence of the cold (La Niña) and warm (El Niño) phase of ENSO on the climate in winter DJF (upper) and summer JJA (lower). after NOAA

Mechanism of world wide spreading of ENSO climate effects: atmospheric circulation

Changes of atmospheric circulations as a function of lime and latitude. The momentum transfer by changing westerly winds towards the poles after each El Niño is clearly visible.
Dickey, Marcus & Hide 1992 (Nature)‫‏‬


Forchhammer et al. 1998 (Nature)‫‏‬

Influence of El Niño on maize crop in Zimbabwe

ENSO-3 index (dashed lines) is highly correlated with precipitation and maize crop in Zimbabwe. It is noteworthy ENSO correlates better with maize crop than with precipitation (which may mean that ENSO influences also Zimbabwe temperature and/or other factors).
Cane, Eshel & Buckland 1994 (Nature)‫‏‬

ENSO w holocenie
Pozycja ITCZ (na podstawie siły monsunu), temperatury Zachodniego i Wschodniego Pacyfiku oraz częstotliwość zjawisk ENSO w ciągu ostatnich 14ka. Widoczne jest minimum aktywności ENSO w okresie optimum klimatycznego holocenu. Uwaga: Niska aktywność w epoce lodowej nie jest zgodna z przedstawionymi wynikami Tudhope et al 2001. Autorzy mimo przedstawienia jej na rysunku w artykule nie wyciągają wniosków co do epoki lodowej
Koutavas et al. 2006 (Geology)‫‏‬

ENSO in the past millennium

Seasonal changes of temperature (δ18O) from Palmyra fossil corals show that ENSO was practically independent from temperature and irradiance variability in the last millennium.
Cobb et al. 2003 (Nature)‫‏‬

Tropical atmospheric circulation changes

During last 100+ years the pressure gradients which power the Walker circulation decreased by 2.5 – 3 % (a). This change can be modeled (b). It is important that natural forcing cannot explain the change (c) but anthropogenic change can (d) explain the changes of tropospheric circulation.
Vecchi et al. 2006 (Nature)‫‏‬

How will ENSO change in the greenhouse world?

SST variability (upper) and ENSO period (lower) does not change in the world of doubled CO2 concentration: an averaged results of 15 general circulation models. But how much can we trust them?
Merryfield 2006 (Journal of Climate)‫‏‬

ENSO forecasting: an example

ENSO forecasting for 2007 by 20 models I showed to my students in March. How accurate it was?
McPhaden, Zebiak & Glantz 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

The outcome: not one model predicted the Nino 3.4 value of 0.0 which was recorded in the month I presented this for the first time.

Podsumowanie 1/3

ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) is an oscillation of the oceanatmosphere system in the tropical Pacific with a period of 2-7 years.

Its warm phase (El Niño) means decreasing: Walker circulation, trade winds, cold water upwelling at South American coast, South Asia & Eastern Africa monsoons, hurricanes in the Atlantic & typhoons in the Pacific; the cold phase (La Niña) restores a state previously deemed “normal”.  ENSO influence reaches most o the planet ans is the greatest source of climate interannual variability. Although there is evidence ENSO period lengthened since 1980s, generally in the last millennium it did not change much.  Our models show no significant change in the coming greenhouse world but we cannot yet be sure we are able to predict this when our models cannot reliable model even the present ENSO cycles.

San Diego River flooding during the 2005 El Niño

Monsuny: bryza o cyklu rocznym

Monsoons work in yearly scale as a breeze in the daily one: they blow winds towards the hot continent in the summer and from a cold one in the winter. They are one of the only two climate connections between the hemispheres (thermohaline circulation being the other one) .

Intertropical Convergence Zone

During the year ITCZ moves towards the more sunward hemisphere (which is visible in the graph - though not very well) Kump et al. 2004

What controls the monsoon strength in the long time?

Oxygen isotopes from Hulu Cave (China) show how over 70 ka the monsoon strength depended both on THC and North Hemisphere summer insolation.
Wang et al. 2001 (Science)‫‏‬

THC and sun...

A little longer time scale and the same result: Monsoon intensity depends both on the summer insolation of the North Hemisphere and on the intensity of thermohaline circulation (THC).

Henderson 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

Monsoon (and ENSO) in the Holocene

Intensity of the monsoons and the ENSO cycle have anticorrelated in the Holocene Lower graphs: reconstructed SST and salinity 6000 years ago (compared to the present average values). Abram et al. 2007 (Nature)‫‏‬

Climate „teleconnections”

The influence of THC on the monsoon is easy to explain (THC influences the Eurasian temperatures).

Other “teleconnections” (up) are not so obvious: usually we do not fully understand what influences what.
Zahn 2003 (Nature); Sirocko et al. 1996 (Nature)‫‏‬

Monsoon and ENSO

Intensity of monsoon rains in India as a function of the ENSO-3 index: a strong anticorrelation. Large droughts (<-2) happen only during the El Niño phase.
Kumar et al. 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

ENSO, NAO and the monsoons

Correlation between India monsoon intensity and Nino-3 index (thin line and the lower dotted one – when two atypical years 1983 and 1997 are omitted), winter temperature of Western Europe air (thick solid) and Central Europe (dotted line). One can see the strong ENSO – monsoon anticorrelation. Winter temperature of Europe correlates significantly (horizontal lines) only when NAO index is positive. The positive NAO means strong westerly circulation making European climate influence the central Euroasia.

Chang, Harr & Ju 2001 (Journal of Climate)‫‏‬

A reminder: Winter values of NAO since 1950

NAO was consistently low on the 1960s and high in the 1990s.

Summary 2/3
During the Holocene, monsoon strength anticorrelated with ENSO variability.  Asia monsoon intensity depends on the Northern Hemisphere summer insolation and (with a shorter timescale) on THC intensity (both correlations are positive). The probable reason fr both is their influence on summer temperature of Eurasia.  In still shorter timescale, monsoon anticorrelates with the ENSO index (drought during El Niño and strong rains during La Niña).  The reason for this (and others) climate „teleconnections” (remote influences) are not yet fully explained and understood. Even the strongest correlation does not explain causality

Stalagmite from Dongge Cave (Southern China) - a record of 9000 years of monsoon history

Hurricanes / cyclones / typhoons
Saffir-Simpson scale:  Tropical storm: 17.5 -32 m/s  Category 1: 33–42 m/s  Category 2: 43–49 m/s  Category 3: 50–58 m/s  Category 4: 59–69 m/s  Category 5: ≥70 m/s

Hurricanes (cyclones, typhoons) are defined as tropical lows with wind speed consistently over 33 m/s commence over tropical ocean areas of SST greater than 28° C. Over land, they quickly lose their power. In Atlantic the hurricane season is defined as June 1 – November 30.
Huragan Isabel, 2003, International Space Station

A hurricane cross-section

Left cross-section presents horizontal velocities (scaled up to 50 m/s), right panel presents vertical velocities (red means upwards blue is downwards) Emmanuel 2003 (Ann. Rev. Earth Planet Sci.)‫‏‬


Forchhammer et al. 1998 (Nature)‫‏‬

Hurricanes and SST

Because hurricanes start only in waters of SST > 28 C, does their number depend on ocean average temperature? Number of Atlantic hurricanes and average temperature of the Northern Hemisphere.
Goldenberg et al. 2001 (Science)‫‏‬

Hurricanes and SST: direct proof

Total dissipation energy (“power dissipation index”) of hurricanes/typhoons over the whole season strongly correlates the average SST of their generation area for Atlantic (left) and Pacific (right) (respectively r2=0.65 i r2=0.67).
Emanuel 2005 (Nature)‫‏‬

More and more strong hurricanes

Contrary to what the models show, the maximum wind velocity in a hurricane does not increase. On the other hand, we have more and more hurricanes close to the upper limit (categories 4 and 5).
Webster et al. 2005 (Science)‫‏‬

Hurricanes correlate with SST and... nothing else

Analysis of data from various tropical ocean areas shows that the number of hurricanes in class 4 & 5 correlate only with SST (A), while there is no significant correlation with air humidity (B), wind shear (C) i and North-South wind speed gradients (D).
Hoyos et al. 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

Caveat: data series is of uneven quality

Analysis of old satellite photographs of 1968-1989 using modern methods made it possible to discover hurricanes of categories 4 & 5 that were not recognized as such when they happened. Above: four examples from northern Indian Ocean. Landsea et al. 2006 (Science)‫‏‬

Studying hurricane statistics older than meteorology itself?

Study of oxygen isotope ratios in the summer-autumn part of yearly treerings in Georgia, USA shows (after filtering out the interannual variability) whether a hurricane passed nearby (index value < -1). In the period which has good meteorological data (since 1940), this method gave only one false positive event (1943).

Miller et al. 2006 (PNAS)‫‏‬

Three hurricane regimes in the Atlantic?

However, Atlantic SST and hurricane numbers have been comparatively well known for a long time.

It seems that the last 100 years had three distinct climate regimes of the tropical Atlantic with a nonlinear increase of hurricane number with increasing SST.
Holland 2006 (Komisja Senatu)‫‏‬

2005: a record breaking year in the Atlantic

In 2005 Atlantic had a record number (26) of named hurricanes and tropical storms beating the 1933 by five. The season lasted for a record time period (until January 6, 2006). A named storm reached Europe for the first time ever.

Few Atlantic hurricanes 2006: El Niño or Sahara?

2005: 12 tropical storms (1 not named) and 15 hurricanes 2006: 4 tropical storms and 5 hurricanes The reason for that is lower SST values of the tropical Atlantic. Possible reason for that may be El Niño. There is also another possibility: dust storms from Sahara brought dust to tropical Atlantic in June and July cooling down the sea beneath. Or maybe both phenomena are linked?

Lau & Kim 2007 (preprint)‫‏‬

Summary 3/3
Hurricanes (cyclones and typhoons) form exclusively over the ocean of SST of at least 28º C. A large correlation exists between their total energy over a season and the SST of their generation area (especially strong for the Atlantic, the ocean with the longest series of reliable tropical storm data)  Hurricane power does not correlate with other meteorological parameters (even where theory predicts such correlations).  There is more and more strong hurricanes instead of the expected increase of hurricane maximal wind speed.
 

After the record 2005 season, there was a relatively quiet 2006. The reason for lower tropical Atlantic SST in 2006 could be El Niño or Sahara dust storms (or is one dependent on the other?)

Hurricane evacuation route (Miami, Florida)‫‏‬