Open Journal Systems

Response of the tropical Pacific Ocean to wind changes related to global warming from simulations with an ocean general circulation model

Yiyong Luo

Article ID: 184
Vol 1, Issue 1, 2016, Article identifier:60-67

VIEWS - 379 (Abstract) 268 (PDF)


A suite of numerical experiments is implemented with an ocean general circulation model (OGCM) to ex-amine the roles of wind stress and wind speed for oceanic changes in the tropical Pacific under global warming. In particular, we turned off the changes of wind stress and/or wind speed in the model to identify the effects of wind-driven ocean circulation and air-sea latent heat flux (i.e., its portion through the wind speed influence on the efficiency of latent heat flux). Results show that 1) the wind stress change appears to be a key forcing mechanism for weakening the tropical surface currents as well as for the oceanic changes in the equatorial thermocline, while it only contributes secondarily to the sea surface temperature (SST) pattern formation in the tropics; 2) the wind speed change is the leading cause for the minimum warming over the southeast subtropics and for a stronger surface warming in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere; and 3) the enhanced surface warming along the equator is mainly due to the effect of warming in the absence of wind stress and wind speed changes, and this effect also plays a significant role for changing the equatorial thermocline.


Tropical Pacific Ocean; global warming; thermocline

Full Text:



Clement A C, Seager R, Cane M A et al. (1996). An ocean dynamical thermostat, Journal of Climate, 9(9): 2190?196.<2190:AODT>2.0.CO;2.

Collins M, An Soon-I, Cai Wenju et al. (2010). The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific ocean and El Nino, Nature Geoscience, 3, 391?97.

DiNezio P N, A. Clement C, Vecchi G A et al. (2009). Climate response of the equatorial Pacific to global warming, Journal of Climate, 22(18): 4873–4892.

Gill A E. (1982). Atmosphere–ocean dynamics. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

Knutson T R and Manabe S. (1995). Time-mean response over the tropical Pacific to increased CO2 in a coupled ocean–atmosphere model, Journal of Climate, 8(9): 2181–2199.<2181:TMROTT>2.0.CO;2

Liu Z, S. Vavrus J, He F et al. (2005). Rethinking tropical ocean response to global warming: The enhanced equatorial warming, Journal of Climate, 18(22): 4684–4700.

Lu J., Chen G and Frierson D. (2008). Response of the zonal mean atmospheric circulation to El Nino versus global warming, Journal of Climate, 21(22): 5835–5851.

Lu J and Zhao B. (2012). The role of oceanic feedback in the climate response to doubling CO2, Journal of Climate, 25(21): 7544–7563.

Luo Y, Rothstein L M and Zhang R-H. (2009). Response of Pacific subtropical-tropical thermocline water pathways and transports to global warming. Geophysical Research Letters, 36(4): L04601.

Meehl G, Stocker T F, Collins WD et al. (2007). Global climate projections. Climate Change 2007. In: Solomon S et al. (eds) The Physical Science Basis. Cambridge University Press, pp747–845.

Vecchi G A and Soden B J., (2007) Global warming and the weakening of the tropical circulation, Journal of Climate, 20(17): 4316–4340.

Xie S-P, Deser C,, Vecchi G A et al., (2010). Global warming pattern formation: Sea surface temperature and rainfall, Journal of Climate, 20(17): 966–986.

(379 Abstract Views, 268 PDF Downloads)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Satellite Oceanography and Meteorology