John Marshall

Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography, MIT

The Relationship between ITCZ Location and Cross-Equatorial Atmospheric Heat Transport: From the Seasonal Cycle to the Last Glacial Maximum

The Relationship between ITCZ Location and Cross-Equatorial Atmospheric Heat Transport: From the Seasonal Cycle to the Last Glacial Maximum.

(Donohoe, Aaron and Marshall, John and Ferreira, David and Mcgee, David), JOURNAL OF CLIMATE, vol. 26, no. 11, pp. pages, 2013.

Abstract

The authors quantify the relationship between the location of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) and the atmospheric heat transport across the equator (AHT(EQ)) in climate models and in observations. The observed zonal mean ITCZ location varies from 5.3 degrees S in the boreal winter to 7.2 degrees N in the boreal summer with an annual mean position of 1.65 degrees N while the AHT(EQ) varies from 2.1 PW northward in the boreal winter to 2.3 PW southward in the boreal summer with an annual mean of 0.1 PW southward. Seasonal variations in the ITCZ location and AHT(EQ) are highly anticorrelated in the observations and in a suite of state-of-the-art coupled climate models with regression coefficients of -2.7 degrees and -2.4 degrees PW-1 respectively. It is also found that seasonal variations in ITCZ location and AHT(EQ) are well correlated in a suite of slab ocean aquaplanet simulations with varying ocean mixed layer depths. However, the regression coefficient between ITCZ location and AHT(EQ) decreases with decreasing mixed layer depth as a consequence of the asymmetry that develops between the winter and summer Hadley cells as the ITCZ moves farther off the equator. The authors go on to analyze the annual mean change in ITCZ location and AHT(EQ) in an ensemble of climate perturbation experiments including the response to CO2 doubling, simulations of the Last Glacial Maximum, and simulations of the mid-Holocene. The shift in the annual average ITCZ location is also strongly anticorrelated with the change in annual mean AHT(EQ) with a regression coefficient of -3.2 degrees PW-1, similar to that found over the seasonal cycle.

doi = 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00467.1