The School of Earth and Climate Sciences presents
Dr. Joellen Russell
University of Arizona
Floats deployed by oceanographers are giving us all ringside seats to the epic battle between the wind and the deep ocean around Antarctica which will determine the rate of atmospheric warming over the next century. The poleward-shift and intensification of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds – in the past and present – has been shown to provide a connection between the surface ocean and the atmosphere with the deep ocean. This “doorway” allows the vast deep ocean reservoir to play a significant role in the transient global climate response to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases, even as the surface ocean warms. Coupled climate and earth system models at low and high resolution all simulate poleward-shifted and intensified Southern Hemisphere surface westerly winds when subjected to an atmospheric carbon dioxide doubling. Comparisons of these simulations reveal how stratification, resolution and eddies affect the transient global climate response to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases – and our collective fate.