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Decrease in Atlantic circulation?

Filed under: — group @ 30 November 2005 - (Français)

by Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann

In a sure-to-be widely publicized paper in the Dec. 1 Nature, Bryden et al. present results from oceanographic cruises at 25°N across the Atlantic showing a ~30% decline in the ocean overturning circulation. These cruises have been repeated every few years since 1957, and the last two cruises (in 1998 and 2004) show notable changes in the structure of the deep return circulation. In particular, the very deepest part of the return flow (at around 3000 to 5000 m) has reduced and moved up in the water column compared to previous decades. How solid is this result and what might it imply for climate?
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Greenhouse gases help seasonal predictions

Filed under: — rasmus @ 30 November 2005 - (Français)

The conventional wisdom in meteorology has been that certain factors such as the complete oceanic state and the exact concentrations of greenhouse gases are of minor importance for a normal weather forecast. Moreover, whereas sea surface temperatures (SST) are important, the deep sea temperatures are believed to have little impact for predictions for the next few days. The reason is that the ocean reacts slowly to changes in the atmosphere (has much higher inertia and much higher heat capacity). Hence, the most important information needed for such a weather forecast is the atmospheric initial conditions, a description of what the atmosphere and the SST look like when the weather model starts computing the weather evolution.

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650,000 years of greenhouse gas concentrations

Filed under: — gavin @ 24 November 2005 - (Français)

The latest results from the EPICA core in Antarctica have just been published this week in Science (Siegenthaler et al. and Spahni et al.). This ice core extended the record of Antarctic climate back to maybe 800,000 years, and the first 650,000 years of ice have now been analysed for greenhouse gas concentrations saved in tiny bubbles. The records for CO2, CH4 and N2O both confirm the Vostok records that have been available for a few years now, and extend them over another 4 glacial-interglacial cycles. This is a landmark result and a strong testament to the almost heroic efforts in the field to bring back these samples from over 3km deep in the Antarctica ice. So what do these new data tell us, and where might they lead? More »

Books books books

Filed under: — david @ 23 November 2005

Perhaps you’re interested in supplementing your tapas-style RealClimate reading with a full meal of a book to curl up with. Maybe you’d like to send such a book to your good-hearted but clueless Cousin Bob, to convince him not to buy an SUV next time. Here are some possibilities …. More »

Busy Week for Water Vapor

Filed under: — raypierre @ 21 November 2005

It’s been a busy week for water vapor, and I have two recent papers to discuss. The first is the paper "Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe" by Rolf Philipona et al. (GRL, 2005, subscription required for full text), which has attracted a certain amount of media attention. The overall goal of the paper is to understand, from a physical standpoint, why European temperatures have been increasing three times faster than the Northern Hemisphere average. It focuses on the changes between 1995 and 2002, over which time good surface radiation budget observations are available. The paper reports some results on the role of large scale circulation changes (which they conclude are minor) but I’ll concentrate on the results relating to water vapor.

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