skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1743738

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Many mountain regions around the world are exposed to enhanced warming when compared to their surroundings, threatening key environmental services provided by mountains. Here we investigate this effect, known as elevation-dependent warming (EDW), in the Andes of Ecuador, using observations and simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. EDW is discernible in observations of mean and maximum temperature in the Andes of Ecuador, but large uncertainties remain due to considerable data gaps in both space and time. WRF simulations of present-day (1986–2005) and future climate (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 for 2041–60) reveal a very distinct EDW signal, with different rates of warming on the eastern and western slopes. This EDW effect is the combined result of multiple feedback mechanisms that operate on different spatial scales. Enhanced upper-tropospheric warming projects onto surface temperature on both sides of the Andes. In addition, changes in the zonal mean midtropospheric circulation lead to enhanced subsidence and warming over the western slopes at high elevation. The increased subsidence also induces drying, reduces cloudiness, and results in enhanced net surface radiation receipts, further contributing to stronger warming. Finally, the highest elevations are also affected by the snow-albedo feedback, due to significant reductions in snowmore »cover by the middle of the twenty-first century. While these feedbacks are more pronounced in the high-emission scenario RCP8.5, our results indicate that high elevations in Ecuador will continue to warm at enhanced rates in the twenty-first century, regardless of emission scenario.

    Significance Statement

    Mountains are often projected to experience stronger warming than their surrounding lowlands going forward, a phenomenon known as elevation-dependent warming (EDW), which can threaten high-altitude ecosystems and lead to accelerated glacier retreat. We investigate the mechanisms associated with EDW in the Andes of Ecuador using both observations and model simulations for the present and the future. A combination of factors amplify warming at mountain tops, including a stronger warming high in the atmosphere, reduced cloudiness, and a reduction of snow and ice at high elevations. The latter two factors also favor enhanced absorption of sunlight, which promotes warming. The degree to which this warming is enhanced at high elevations in the future depends on the greenhouse gas emission pathway.

    « less
  2. Abstract

    Winter surface air temperature (Tas) over the Barents–Kara Seas (BKS) and other Arctic regions has experienced rapid warming since the late 1990s that has been linked to the concurring cooling over Eurasia, and these multidecadal trends are attributed partly to internal variability. However, how such variability is generated is unclear. Through analyses of observations and model simulations, we show that sea ice–air two-way interactions amplify multidecadal variability in sea-ice cover, sea surface temperatures (SST) and Tas from the North Atlantic to BKS, and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) mainly through variations in surface fluxes. When sea ice is fixed in flux calculations, multidecadal variations are reduced substantially (by 20–50%) not only in Arctic Tas, but also in North Atlantic SST and AMOC. The results suggest that sea ice–air interactions are crucial for multidecadal climate variability in both the Arctic and North Atlantic, similar to air-sea interactions for tropical climate.

  3. Abstract

    The history of the Polynesian civilization on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) over the Common Era has come to exemplify the fragile relationship humans have with their environment. Social dynamics, deforestation, land degradation, and climatic shifts have all been proposed as important parts of the settlement history and societal transformations on Rapa Nui. Furthermore, climate dynamics of the Southeast Pacific have major global implications. While the wetlands of Rapa Nui contain critical sedimentological archives for reconstructing past hydrological change on the island, connections between the island’s hydroclimate and fundamental aspects of regional climatology are poorly understood. Here we present a hydroclimatology of Rapa Nui showing that there is a clear seasonal cycle of precipitation, with wet months receiving almost twice as much precipitation as dry months. This seasonal cycle can be explained by the seasonal shifts in the location and strength of the climatological south Pacific subtropical anticyclone. For interannual precipitation variability, we find that the occurrence of infrequent, large rain events explains 92% of the variance of the observed annual mean precipitation time series. Approximately one third (33%) of these events are associated with atmospheric rivers, 21% are associated with classic cold-front synoptic systems, and the remainder are characterizedmore »by cut-off lows and other synoptic-scale storm systems. As a group, these large rain events are most strongly controlled by the longitudinal position of the south Pacific subtropical anticyclone. The longitudinal location of this anticyclone explains 21% of the variance in the frequency of large rain events, while the remaining variance is left unexplained by any other major atmosphere-ocean dynamics. We find that over the observational era there appears to be no linear relationship between the number of large rain events and any other major climate phenomena. With the south Pacific subtropical anticyclone projected to strengthen and expand westward under global warming, our results imply that Rapa Nui will experience an increase in the number of dry years in the future.

    « less
  4. Abstract

    Arctic warming can influence tundra ecosystem function with consequences for climate feedbacks, wildlife and human communities. Yet ecological change across the Arctic tundra biome remains poorly quantified due to field measurement limitations and reliance on coarse-resolution satellite data. Here, we assess decadal changes in Arctic tundra greenness using time series from the 30 m resolution Landsat satellites. From 1985 to 2016 tundra greenness increased (greening) at ~37.3% of sampling sites and decreased (browning) at ~4.7% of sampling sites. Greening occurred most often at warm sampling sites with increased summer air temperature, soil temperature, and soil moisture, while browning occurred most often at cold sampling sites that cooled and dried. Tundra greenness was positively correlated with graminoid, shrub, and ecosystem productivity measured at field sites. Our results support the hypothesis that summer warming stimulated plant productivity across much, but not all, of the Arctic tundra biome during recent decades.

  5. Abstract

    Increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases will not only raise Earth’s temperature but may also change its variability and seasonal cycle. Here CMIP5 model data are analyzed to quantify these changes in surface air temperature (Tas) and investigate the underlying processes. The models capture well the mean Tas seasonal cycle and variability and their changes in reanalysis, which shows decreasing Tas seasonal amplitudes and variability over the Arctic and Southern Ocean from 1979 to 2017. Daily Tas variability and seasonal amplitude are projected to decrease in the twenty-first century at high latitudes (except for boreal summer when Tas variability increases) but increase at low latitudes. The day of the maximum or minimum Tas shows large delays over high-latitude oceans, while it changes little at low latitudes. These Tas changes at high latitudes are linked to the polar amplification of warming and sea ice loss, which cause larger warming in winter than summer due to extra heating from the ocean during the cold season. Reduced sea ice cover also decreases its ability to cause Tas variations, contributing to the decreased Tas variability at high latitudes. Over low–midlatitude oceans, larger increases in surface evaporation in winter than summer (due to strong wintermore »winds, strengthened winter winds in the Southern Hemisphere, and increased winter surface humidity gradients over the Northern Hemisphere low latitudes), coupled with strong ocean mixing in winter, lead to smaller surface warming in winter than summer and thus increased seasonal amplitudes there. These changes result in narrower (wider) Tas distributions over the high (low) latitudes, which may have important implications for other related fields.

    « less
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 16, 2023
  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 16, 2023
  10. Abstract The Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV), a dominant mode of multidecadal variations in North Atlantic sea surface temperatures (NASST), has major impacts on global climate. Given that both internal variability and external forcing have contributed to the historical AMV, how future anthropogenic forcing may regulate the AMV is of concern but remains unclear. By analyzing observations and a large ensemble of model simulations [i.e., the Max Planck Institute Grand Ensemble (MPI-GE)], the internally generated (AMV IV ) and externally forced (AMV EX ) components of the AMV and their climatic impacts during the twenty-first century are examined. Consistent with previous findings, the AMV IV would weaken with future warming by 11%–17% in its amplitude by the end of the twenty-first century, along with reduced warming anomaly over the midlatitude North Atlantic under future warming during the positive AMV IV phases. In contrast, the AMV EX is projected to strengthen with reduced frequency under future warming. Furthermore, future AMV IV -related temperature variations would weaken over Eurasia and North Africa but strengthen over the United States, whereas AMV IV -related precipitation over parts of North America and Eurasia would weaken in a warmer climate. The AMV EX ’s impact on globalmore »precipitation would also weaken. The results provide new evidence that future anthropogenic forcing (i.e., nonlinear changes in GHGs and aerosols) under different scenarios can generate distinct multidecadal variations and influence the internally generated AMV, and that multidecadal changes in anthropogenic forcing are important for future AMV.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023