CO2 increase can intensify future droughts in tropics, study suggests

tropics
Tropical forest in Martinique near the city of Fond St-Denis. Credit: Wikipedia

A new study suggests that increases in atmospheric CO2 could intensify extreme droughts in tropical and subtropical regions—such as Australia, the southwest and central United States, and southern Amazonia—at much a faster rate than previously anticipated, explains University of Texas at Austin professor Rong Fu in a commentary in the March 9 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Fu, a professor at the university's Jackson School of Geosciences, writes about a new study by William K.M. Lau of the University of Maryland and Kyu-Myong Kim of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, explaining that it shows for the first time through computer that the Hadley Circulation will intensify as the world warms. The study, "Robust Hadley Circulation changes and increasing global dryness due to CO2 warming from CMIP5 model projections," was posted online Feb. 23.

The Hadley Circulation, associated with the prevailing trade winds in the tropics, is an atmospheric air current centered around the equator that affects areas between the latitudes of about 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south.

The Hadley Circulation influences the distribution of rainfall, clouds and relative humidity over half of Earth's surface. It can expand or contract in a warmer or colder global , leading to substantial changes of regional rainfall. Such changes have been linked to the collapse of the ancient Maya civilization.

During the past decade or two, the Hadley Circulation has become stronger and expanded toward the poles at a rate faster than predicted by , contributing to increased droughts over many subtropical regions and increased rainfall in equatorial regions. Past studies have attributed the intensifying of the Hadley Circulation to natural decadal climate variability, because climate models have predicted that the Hadley Circulation will weaken in the future as climate changes. But Lau's and Kim's work found that the Hadley Circulation intensified in warmer climate, which is expected to continue.

"This is the first study that suggests a possible intensification of droughts in the tropic-subtropical margins in . The finding is critical to understanding what the world will be like as the climate continues to change," Fu said. "Will the Hadley Circulation continue to expand? Could the intensification of droughts over the tropics and subtropics be a new norm? These are questions that need to be answered."


Explore further

Natural climate swings contribute more to increased monsoon rainfall than global warming

More information: Global warming-accelerated drying in the tropics, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1503231112

Robust Hadley Circulation changes and increasing global dryness due to CO2 warming from CMIP5 model projections, www.pnas.org/content/early/201 … 682112.full.pdf+html

Citation: CO2 increase can intensify future droughts in tropics, study suggests (2015, March 9) retrieved 17 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-co2-future-droughts-tropics.html
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Mar 09, 2015
that the Hadley Circulation will intensify as the world warms

Really, we need a model to tell us this? I'd call it a definition, one having nothing to do with CO2.

Mar 10, 2015
Water_Prophet claimed
.. that the Hadley Circulation will intensify as the world warms

Really, we need a model to tell us this? I'd call it a definition, one having nothing to do with CO2.
WHY ?

Do u imagine that, despite over a 100Yrs of agreement on the IR thermal properties of CO2 (never refuted), you should IGNORE a key greenhouse gas that is also INCREASING ?

Water_Prophet, you claimed to have "4 technical degrees" which included that of Physical Chemistry, where & when did U start each of these degrees & did u actually pass ?

runrig showed you elsewhere the formula to determine CO2's thermal resistivity in W/m^2
which is something YOU as a claimed PC could NOT determine.

So WHY can U not prove your earlier claim CO2 is a "red-herring" or "anemic" ?

You claim further re models "..one having nothing to do with CO2..", why is that ?

Are u ill or being intentionally misleading, should you be banned for LYING ?

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