Studies in Climate Dynamics for Environmental Security: Large-Scale Ocean/Atmosphere Interaction Resulting from Variable Heat Transfer at the Equator

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Report Number: RM-6353-ARPA
Author(s): Berknes, J.
Corporate Author(s): The RAND Coporation
Date of Publication: 1970-08
Contract: DAHC15 67 C 0141
DoD Task:
Identifier: AD0711308
AD Number: AD711308

From the record of monthly sea and air temperature at Canton Island, 2°48'S, 171°43'W, November 1964 has been selected as typifying the arid conditions associated with anomalously cold equatorial water, and as representing a contrast to November 1965 with its near-maximum water temperature and abundant rainfall. Air circulation along the equator also differs significantly, the cool November 1964 being characterized by uninterrupted easterlies from South America to eastern Indonesia with return flow in the upper half of the troposphere, whereas the corresponding circulation in November 1965 is confined to the eastern equatorial Pacific. In the western equatorial ocean, the weakening, or even elimination, of easterly wind stress, from 1964 to 1965, stops the upwelling, so as to permit the ocean surface to warm. The large-scale feedback upon the atmosphere is seen to be: a general warming from November 1964 to November 1965 of the complete belt of the tropical troposphere with inherent strengthening of the upper tropospheric westerlies in both hemispheres. This underlines the importance for global climatic forecasting of monitoring, and if possible predicting, the atmosphere/ocean interaction in the equatorial belt.

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