Wednesday, February 17, 2016
4:00 pm
Arms 155 (Robert P. Sharp Lecture Hall)

Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar

Why is there an ocean overturning circulation in the North Atlantic and not in the North Pacific? Exploring three hypotheses
David Battisti, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences & Tamaki Endowed Chair, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington

A remarkable asymmetry in the climate system is the deep meridional overturning circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean (AMOC) that is not found in the North Pacific Ocean. In this talk, I will briefly discuss the myriad hypotheses that have been put forward for why there is an overturning circulation in the North Atlantic. I will then show results from experiments that test three of the most widely discussed hypotheses for why there is an AMOC: (i) the impact of the Rockies on the atmospheric circulation; (ii) the impact of the Rockies on the on the hydrologic cycle, and (iii) the net export of water from the Atlantic to the Pacific via atmospheric transports. These experiments also help to illuminate why there is no meridional overturning circulation in the North Pacific.

Contact Kathy Young katyoung@gps.caltech.edu at 626-395-8732
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