Mechanisms of future changes in equatorial upwelling: CMIP5 intermodel analysis

Mio Terada, Shoshiro Minobe, Curtis Deutsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The future change in equatorial upwelling between 1971-2000 and 2071-2100 is investigated using data from 24 coupled climate models. The multimodel ensemble (MME) mean exhibits substantial equatorial upwelling decrease in the eastern Pacific and weaker decrease in the western Atlantic Ocean. The MME mean of upwelling change and intermodel variation of that are decomposed into distinct isopycnal and diapycnal components. In the Pacific, the diapycnal upwelling decreases near the surface, associated with a weakened Ekman pumping. The isopycnal upwelling decreases at depths of 75-200 m around the core of the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) due to flattening of the density layer in which it flows. Both the weakened Ekman pumping and the EUC flattening are induced by the locally weakened trade wind over the eastern Pacific basin. In the equatorial Atlantic, both the change in MME mean and the intermodel variation of upwellings are significantly related to the weakened trade wind and enhanced stratification, although these drivers are not independent. The results for the Pacific Ocean imply that future reduction in upwelling may have impacts at different depths by different mechanisms. In particular, the rapid warming of sea surface temperature in the eastern Pacific basin may be mainly caused by the near-surface diapycnal upwelling reduction rather than isopycnal upwelling reduction associated EUC flattening, which is important at deeper levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-510
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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