Nav: Home

Tropical Pacific variability key for successful climate forecasts

May 21, 2019

Our planet is warming up. This is documented consistently by all measurements that are carried out worldwide. However, this warming, which is mainly caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, is superimposed by natural climatic fluctuations on time scales from years to centuries. Climate forecasts for the future have to incorporate these variations. A team of scientists from Australia and Germany has now found out that in particular the very strong natural climatic fluctuations in the tropical Pacific on decadal timescales are important how the climate develops in future.

"We know about strong natural climatic variations in the tropical Pacific for a long time", explains Dr. Mohammad Hadi Bordbar from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, lead author of the study, which has now been published in Nature Communications. "Furthermore, climate forecasts on time scales of decades show a relatively large spread. In our study, we wanted to find out to what extent there is a connection", explains the climate scientist from Kiel. Together with Australian colleagues from the University of New South Wales, the researchers designed a study with three different climate models. They started the model simulations with different initial conditions that reflect the natural variations in the tropical Pacific region. "The results clearly show that a significant fraction of the large spread in climate forecasts has its origins in this region", explains Dr. Matthew England from the University of New South Wales.

For the scientists, these results indicate that better information about the initial state of the ocean, in particular subsurface data, could improve their predictions significantly. "In the scenario we studied, the predicted spatial patterns of surface temperatures are very dependent on the initial state of the Pacific Ocean", explains Prof. Dr. Mojib Latif, co-author of the study from GEOMAR. "The available observation data from the Pacific are in many areas only patchy, therefore, the results of the various simulations show such a strong spread", Latif continues.

According to the scientists, in addition to improvements in the models significantly more and better observation data are needed in order to improve the quality of climate predictions.
-end-


Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)

Related Ocean Articles:

How the Arctic Ocean became saline
The Arctic Ocean was once a gigantic freshwater lake. Only after the land bridge between Greenland and Scotland had submerged far enough did vast quantities of salt water pour in from the Atlantic.
Refining the ocean's thermometer
The chemistry of shells of plankton called foraminifera are a record of past climate.
The Arctic Ocean is becoming more like the Atlantic
The eastern Arctic Ocean is becoming more like the Atlantic Ocean, a new study combining remote sensing and local data finds.
International team reports ocean acidification spreading rapidly in Arctic Ocean
Ocean acidification (OA) is spreading rapidly in the western Arctic Ocean in both area and depth, according to new interdisciplinary research reported in Nature Climate Change by a team of international collaborators, including University of Delaware professor Wei-Jun Cai.
Global ocean de-oxygenation quantified
The ongoing global change causes rising ocean temperatures and changes the ocean circulation.
Decoding ocean signals
Geographer Tim DeVries and colleagues determine why the ocean has absorbed more carbon over the past decade.
Finding a needle in the ocean
Xiang-Gen Xia, the Charles Black Evans Professor in UD's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, shares his thoughts on big data in a 'Perspectives' paper published in the January 2017 issue of IEEE Signal Processing Magazine.
Protecting the ocean
Benjamin Halpern, director of NCEAS, to receive the 2017 Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Science.
At last, an inventory of the ocean's dissolved sulfur
The dissolved fraction of organic sulfur in the ocean is the most abundant form of sulfur there by a factor of ten, a new study finds.
Ocean fronts attract ocean wanderers -- foraging gannets on the front line
A study led by Plymouth University and the University of Exeter has shown for the first time that seabirds use ocean fronts as an efficient way of foraging.

Related Ocean Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...