Growing temperature contrast between northern and southern hemispheres likely to have big impacts on rainfall

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Tropical rainbands are likely to shift northward as the northern hemisphere warms more than the southern. Photo courtesy NASA.

‘To expect that rainfall patterns would stay the same is very naïve’

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A growing temperature disparity between the southern and northern hemispheres could have significant long-term effects on tropical rainfall patterns, potentially shifting monsoons in some areas, or leading to drought in other regions.

Climate scientists aren’t exactly sure how that will play out, but they are starting to measure the temperature differences between the two hemispheres to create an index that might help forecast some of the changes. Continue reading

Climate: Tipping point for ocean currents?

Fossil record gives clues about climate connecting between tropics and high latitude Atlantic conditions

Blue paths represent deep-water currents, while red paths represent surface currents.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Using clues in tiny ocean fossils collected near Venezuela, Texas A&M researchers have been able to trace how the climate-regulating global ocean conveyor-belt circulation changes as the Earth goes through warm and cool cycles.

The 22,000-year climate record includes changes in ocean temperature and salinity in the upper 1,500 feet of water in the western tropical Atlantic. The study  included global climate model simulations under past climate conditions to interpret this new observational record in the context of changes in the strength of the global ocean conveyor-belt circulation.

The data may help explain why the Earth’s climate is so sensitive to ocean circulation patterns, according to geological oceanographer Matthew Schmidt. The study shows an important climate connection between the tropics and the high latitude North Atlantic.  Continue reading

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