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C.-Y. Chang, J. C. H. Chiang, M. F. Wehner, A. R. Friedman, and R. Ruedy

Abstract

The tropical Atlantic interhemispheric gradient in sea surface temperature significantly influences the rainfall climate of the tropical Atlantic sector, including droughts over West Africa and Northeast Brazil. This gradient exhibits a secular trend from the beginning of the twentieth century until the 1980s, with stronger warming in the south relative to the north. This trend behavior is on top of a multidecadal variation associated with the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. A similar long-term forced trend is found in a multimodel ensemble of forced twentieth-century climate simulations. Through examining the distribution of the trend slopes in the multimodel twentieth-century and preindustrial models, the authors conclude that the observed trend in the gradient is unlikely to arise purely from natural variations; this study suggests that at least half the observed trend is a forced response to twentieth-century climate forcings. Further analysis using twentieth-century single-forcing runs indicates that sulfate aerosol forcing is the predominant cause of the multimodel trend. The authors conclude that anthropogenic sulfate aerosol emissions, originating predominantly from the Northern Hemisphere, may have significantly altered the tropical Atlantic rainfall climate over the twentieth century.

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R. E. Pandya, D. R. Smith, M. K. Ramamurthy, P. J. Croft, M. J. Hayes, K. A. Murphy, J. D. McDonnell, R. M. Johnson, and H. A. Friedman

The 11th American Meteorological Society (AMS) Education Symposium was held from 13 to 15 January 2002 in Orlando, Florida, as part of the 82nd Annual Meeting of the AMS. The theme of the symposium was “creating opportunities in educational outreach in the atmospheric and related sciences.” Drawing from traditional strengths in meteorology and numerous national recommendations, the presentations and posters of the symposium highlighted three opportunities for reform. These opportunities build on partnerships between diverse educational stakeholders, efforts to make science education more like scientific practice, and strategies that place the atmospheric sciences within a larger, multidisciplinary context that includes oceanography, hydrology, and earth-system science.

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Andrew R. Friedman, Gabriele C. Hegerl, Andrew P. Schurer, Shih-Yu Lee, Wenwen Kong, Wei Cheng, and John C. H. Chiang

Abstract

The sea surface temperature (SST) contrast between the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH) influences the location of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) and the intensity of the monsoon systems. This study examines the contributions of external forcing and unforced internal variability to the interhemispheric SST contrast in HadSST3 and ERSSTv5 observations, and 10 models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) from 1881 to 2012. Using multimodel mean fingerprints, a significant influence of anthropogenic, but not natural, forcing is detected in the interhemispheric SST contrast, with the observed response larger than that of the model mean in ERSSTv5. The forced response consists of asymmetric NH–SH SST cooling from the mid-twentieth century to around 1980, followed by opposite NH–SH SST warming. The remaining best-estimate residual or unforced component is marked by NH–SH SST maxima in the 1930s and mid-1960s, and a rapid NH–SH SST decrease around 1970. Examination of decadal shifts in the observed interhemispheric SST contrast highlights the shift around 1970 as the most prominent from 1881 to 2012. Both NH and SH SST variability contributed to the shift, which appears not to be attributable to external forcings. Most models examined fail to capture such large-magnitude shifts in their control simulations, although some models with high interhemispheric SST variability are able to produce them. Large-magnitude shifts produced by the control simulations feature disparate spatial SST patterns, some of which are consistent with changes typically associated with the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC).

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