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Original Research Papers

Understanding the ocean temperature change in global warming: the tropical Pacific

Authors:

Haijun Yang ,

Department of Atmospheric Science, School of Physics, Peking University, 209 Chengfu Road, Beijing, 100871, CN
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Fuyao Wang,

Department of Atmospheric Science, School of Physics, Peking University, 209 Chengfu Road, Beijing, 100871, CN
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Aidong Sun

Computer Center, Peking University, 5 Yihe Road, Beijing, 100871, CN
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Abstract

The response mechanisms of the tropical Pacific Ocean temperature to increased atmospheric CO2 are investigated in a coupled climate model. Ensemble simulations are performed under both the transient and stable CO2 forcing. It is found that the dominant mechanism for temperature change differs in different stages of global warming. During the transient stage, the surface heat flux is a major driving factor for the tropical surface warming. During the equilibrium stage, the dominant mechanism to maintain the surface warming is the meridional advection. The heat flux forcing becomes a damping factor instead, particularly for the western tropical Pacific. Different from the surface warming, the subsurface warming results from the oceanic mixings during the entire period of global warming, whereas the advection terms generally play a cooling role, consistent with the slowdown of the shallow meridional overturning circulation. This paper emphasizes the deterministic role of the dynamic adjustment of the ocean circulation in the long-term change of ocean climate.

How to Cite: Yang, H., Wang, F. and Sun, A., 2009. Understanding the ocean temperature change in global warming: the tropical Pacific. Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 61(3), pp.371–380. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0870.2008.00390.x
  Published on 01 Jan 2009
 Accepted on 15 Dec 2008            Submitted on 6 Apr 2008

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