Oct 15, 2015

Expansion of the Southern Hemisphere Hadley Cell in Response to Greenhouse Gas Forcing

by
H. Nguyen, C. Lucas, A. Evans, B. Timbal, and L. Hanson
,
American Meteorological Society
  • Investigates changes of the Southern Hemisphere Hadley cell over the twentieth century using the Twentieth Century Reanalysis (20CR) and coupled model simulations from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5)
  • Reveals that trends computed on a 30-yr sliding window on the 20CR dataset reveal a statistically significant expansion of the Hadley cell from 1968 forced by an increasing surface global warming
  • Finds this expansion is strongly associated with the intensification and poleward shift of the subtropical dry zone, which potentially explain the increasing trends of droughts in the subtropical regions such as southern Australia, South America, and Africa
  • Finds that coupled models from the CMIP5 do not adequately simulate the observed amount of the Hadley expansion, only showing an average of one-fourth of the expansion as determined from the 20CR and only when simulations include greenhouse gas forcing as opposed to simulations including natural forcing only