Shang-Ping Xie, Clara Deser, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Jian Ma, Haiyan Teng, and Andrew T. Wittenberg

AMS Journal of Climate

Published date February 15, 2010

Global Warming Pattern Formation: Sea Surface Temperature and Rainfall

  • Investigates spatial variations in sea surface temperature (SST) and rainfall changes over the tropics based on ensemble simulations for the first half of the twenty-first century under the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission scenario A1B
  • States that despite a GHG increase that is nearly uniform in space, pronounced patterns emerge in both SST and precipitation
  • Develops a physically based methodology that allows researchers to diagnose the causes of the SST patterns and their impact on rainfall
  • Finds there is a tendency for a greater warming in the northern subtropics than in the southern subtropics in accordance with asymmetries in trade wind changes
  • Finds that tropical precipitation changes are positively correlated with spatial deviations of SST warming from the tropical mean; in particular, the equatorial maximum in SST warming over the Pacific anchors a band of pronounced rainfall increase

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