Sensitivity of climate change induced by the weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation to cloud feedback

Rong Zhang, Sarah M. Kang, Isaac M. Held

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

A variety of observational and modeling studies show that changes in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) can induce rapid global-scale climate change. In particular, a substantially weakened AMOC leads to a southward shift of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. However, the simulated amplitudes of the AMOC-induced tropical climate change differ substantially among different models. In this paper, the sensitivity to cloud feedback of the climate response to a change in the AMOC is studied using a coupled ocean-atmosphere model [the GFDL Coupled Model, version 2.1 (CM2.1)]. Without cloud feedback, the simulated AMOC-induced climate change in this model is weakened substantially. Low-cloud feedback has a strong amplifying impact on the tropical ITCZ shift in this model, whereas the effects of high-cloud feedback are weaker. It is concluded that cloud feedback is an important contributor to the uncertainty in the global response to AMOC changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-389
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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