Response of the Equatorial Pacific Thermocline to Climate Warming


Title: Response of the Equatorial Pacific Thermocline to Climate Warming

Journal: Ocean Dynamics, 68: 1419-1429

Authors: LUO Y. -Y. *, F. -K. Liu, and J. Lu

Abstract: Climate models project a significant shoaling of the thermocline over the western equatorial Pacific Ocean under global warming, which has been generally regarded as a direct response to surface wind change. This study investigates the formation processes for the equatorial Pacific thermocline response to CO2quadrupling using the Community Earth System Model version 1 (CESM1). In particular, an overriding method is applied to isolate and quantify the wind stress effect and the direct radiative effect of CO2emissions. Results show that both effects of the wind stress and direct radiative forcing are equally important for shoaling the equatorial thermocline, with the former responsible for its upper portion change and the latter for its lower portion change. Further passive tracer experiments with the ocean component of the CESM1 verify the role of ocean surface warming in shoaling the equatorial thermocline and identify the ocean circulation change in response to the surface warming as its dynamic cause of formation.