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  1. Abstract

    Total poleward atmospheric heat transport (AHT) is similar in both magnitude and latitudinal structure between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. These similarities occur despite more major mountain ranges in the Northern Hemisphere, which help create substantial stationary eddy AHT that is largely absent in the Southern Hemisphere. However, this hemispheric difference in stationary eddy AHT is compensated by hemispheric differences in other dynamic components of AHT so that total AHT is similar between hemispheres. To understand how AHT compensation occurs, we add midlatitude mountain ranges in two different general circulation models that are otherwise configured as aquaplanets. Even when midlatitude mountains are introduced, total AHT is nearly invariant. We explore the near invariance of total AHT in response to orography through dynamic, energetic, and diffusive perspectives. Dynamically, orographically induced changes to stationary eddy AHT are compensated by changes in both transient eddy and mean meridional circulation AHT. This creates an AHT system with three interconnected components that resist large changes to total AHT. Energetically, the total AHT can only change if the top-of-the-atmosphere net radiation changes at the equator-to-pole scale. Midlatitude orography does not create large-enough changes in the equator-to-pole temperature gradient to alter outgoing longwave radiation enough to substantially change total AHT. In the zonal mean, changes to absorbed shortwave radiation also often compensate for changes in outgoing longwave radiation. Diffusively, the atmosphere smooths anomalies in temperature and humidity created by the addition of midlatitude orography, such that total AHT is relatively invariant.

    Significance Statement

    The purpose of this study is to better understand how orography influences heat transport in the atmosphere. Enhancing our understanding of how atmospheric heat transport works is important, as heat transport helps moderate Earth’s surface temperatures and influences precipitation patterns. We find that the total amount of atmospheric heat transport does not change in the presence of mountains in the midlatitudes. Different pieces of the heat transport change, but they change in compensatory ways, such that the total heat transport remains roughly constant.

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  2. Abstract

    We examine the evidence for large‐scale tropical hydroclimate changes over the Common Era based on a compilation of 67 tropical hydroclimate records from 55 sites and assess the consistency between the reconstructed hydroclimate changes and those simulated by transient model simulations of the last millennium. Our synthesis of the proxy records reveals several regionally coherent patterns on centennial time scales. From 800 to 1000 CE, records from the eastern Pacific and parts of Mesoamerica indicate a pronounced drying event relative to background conditions of the Common Era. In addition, 1400–1700 CE is marked by pronounced hydroclimate changes across the tropics, including dry and/or isotopically enriched conditions in South and East Asia, wet and/or isotopically depleted conditions in the central Andes and southern Amazon in South America, and fresher and/or isotopically depleted conditions in the Maritime Continent. We find notable dissimilarities between the regional hydroclimate changes and global‐scale and hemispheric‐scale temperature reconstructions, indicating that more work needs to be done to understand the mechanisms of the widespread tropical hydroclimate changes during the LIA. Apropos to previous interpretations of large‐scale reorganization of tropical Pacific climate during the LIA, we do not find support for a large‐scale southward shift of the Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone, while evidence for a strengthened Pacific Walker Circulation and/or an equatorward contraction of the monsoonal Asian‐Australian rain belt exists from limited geographic regions but require additional paleoclimate constraints. Transient climate model simulations exhibit weak forced long‐term tropical rainfall changes over the last millennium but provide several important insights to the proxy reconstructions.

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  3. Abstract

    The degree of Hadley cell expansion under global warming will have a substantial impact on changing rainfall patterns. Most previous studies have quantified changes in total tropical width, focused on the Southern Hemisphere Hadley cell or considered each hemisphere's response to a multitude of anthropogenic forcings. It is shown here that under exclusive CO2forcing, climate models predict twice as much Hadley cell expansion in the Southern Hemisphere relative to the Northern Hemisphere. This asymmetry is present in the annual mean expansion and all seasons except boreal autumn. It is robust across models and Hadley cell edge definitions. It is surprising since asymmetries in simulated Hadley cell expansion are typically attributed to stratospheric ozone depletion or aerosol emission. Its primary cause is smaller sensitivity of the Northern Hemisphere Hadley cell to static stability changes. The pattern of sea surface warming and the CO2direct radiative effect also contribute to the asymmetry.

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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Atmospheric heat transport is an important piece of our climate system, yet we lack a complete theory for its magnitude or changes. Atmospheric dynamics and radiation play different roles in controlling the total atmospheric heat transport (AHT) and its partitioning into components associated with eddies and mean meridional circulations. This work focuses on two specific controls: a radiative one, namely atmospheric radiative temperature tendencies, and a dynamic one, the planetary rotation rate. We use an idealized gray radiation model to employ a novel framework to lock the radiative temperature tendency and total AHT to climatological values, even while the rotation rate is varied. This setup allows for a systematic study of the effects of radiative tendency and rotation rate on AHT. We find that rotation rate controls the latitudinal extent of the Hadley cell and the heat transport efficiency of eddies. Both the rotation rate and radiative tendency influence the strength of the Hadley cell and the strength of equator–pole energy differences that are important for AHT by eddies. These two controls do not always operate independently and can reinforce or dampen each other. In addition, we examine how individual AHT components, which vary with latitude, sum to a total AHT that varies smoothly with latitude. At slow rotation rates the mean meridional circulation is most important in ensuring total AHT varies smoothly with latitude, while eddies are most important at rotation rates similar to, and faster than, those of Earth. 
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  5. The impact of global warming–induced intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) narrowing onto the higher-latitude circulation is examined in the GFDL Atmospheric Model, version 2.1 (AM2.1), run over zonally symmetric aquaplanet boundary conditions. A striking reconfiguration of the deep tropical precipitation from double-peaked, off-equatorial ascent to a single peak at the equator occurs under a globally uniform +4 K sea surface temperature (SST) perturbation. This response is found to be highly sensitive to the SST profile used to force the model. By making small (≤1 K) perturbations to the surface temperature in the deep tropics, varying control simulation precipitation patterns with both single and double ITCZs are generated. Across the climatologies, narrower regions of ascent correspond to more equatorward Hadley cell edges and eddy-driven jets. Under the global warming perturbation, the experiments in which there is narrowing of the ITCZ show significantly less expansion of the Hadley cell and somewhat less poleward shift of the eddy-driven jet than those without ITCZ narrowing. With a narrower ITCZ, the ascending air has larger zonal momentum, causing more westerly upper-tropospheric subtropical wind. In turn, this implies 1) the subtropical jet will become baroclinically unstable at a lower latitude and 2) the critical (zero wind) line will shift equatorward, allowing midlatitude eddies to propagate farther equatorward. Both of these mechanisms modify the Hadley cell edge position, and the latter affects the jet position.

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