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Impacts of high-latitude volcanic eruptions on ENSO and AMOC
  • Published Date:
    2015
  • Source:
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Nov 10; 112(45): 13784-13788.
Filetype[PDF-1.15 MB]


Details:
  • Description:
    Large volcanic eruptions can have major impacts on global climate, affecting both atmospheric and ocean circulation through changes in atmospheric chemical composition and optical properties. The residence time of volcanic aerosol from strong eruptions is roughly 2-3 y. Attention has consequently focused on their short-term impacts, whereas the long-term, ocean-mediated response has not been well studied. Most studies have focused on tropical eruptions; high-latitude eruptions have drawn less attention because their impacts are thought to be merely hemispheric rather than global. No study to date has investigated the long-term effects of high-latitude eruptions. Here, we use a climate model to show that large summer high-latitude eruptions in the Northern Hemisphere cause strong hemispheric cooling, which could induce an El Niño-like anomaly, in the equatorial Pacific during the first 8-9 mo after the start of the eruption. The hemispherically asymmetric cooling shifts the Intertropical Convergence Zone southward, triggering a weakening of the trade winds over the western and central equatorial Pacific that favors the development of an El Niño-like anomaly. In the model used here, the specified high-latitude eruption also leads to a strengthening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) in the first 25 y after the eruption, followed by a weakening lasting at least 35 y. The long-lived changes in the AMOC strength also alter the variability of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
  • Keywords:
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4653171
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