Pan-oceanic response to increasing anthropogenic aerosols: Impacts on the Southern Hemisphere oceanic circulation

W. Cai*, Daohua Bi, J. Church, T. Cowan, M. Dix, L. Rotstayn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Examinations of the impact of anthropogenic aerosols on oceanic heat content have focused largely on the global average response. Given that aerosol-induced cooling is greater in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) than in the Southern Hemisphere (SH), do aerosols induce a greater impact on NH oceanic heat content? Sea level rise over the past 50 years has shown little hemispheric differentiation. Using a set of global climate model experiments forced with and without anthropogenic aerosols, we show that increasing aerosols in the 20th century induce a pan-oceanic heat redistribution. This leads to a reduction in the SH oceanic heat content comparable to that in the NH oceans. The process includes a strengthening of the northward cross-equatorial heat transport in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with the majority taking place in the Atlantic Ocean via the most effective pathway: the globally interconnected ocean current system associated with the Atlantic overturning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21707
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume33
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • SEA-LEVEL
  • CLIMATE
  • ATMOSPHERE
  • PERIOD
  • WATER
  • CYCLE
  • MODEL
  • ICE

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