Dynamical and observational constraints on tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures at the last glacial maximum

Z. Liu*, S. Shin, P. Behling, W. Prell, M. Trend-Staid, S. P. Harrison, J. E. Kutzbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Asynchronously coupled atmosphere and ocean general circulation model simulations are used to examine the consequences of changes in the west/east sea-surface temperature (SST) gradient across the equatorial Pacific at the last glacial maximum (LGM). Simulations forced by the CLIMAP SST for the LGM, where the west/east SST gradient across the Pacific is reduced compared to present, produce a reduction in the strength of the trade winds and a decrease in the west/east slope of the equatorial thermocline that is incompatible with thermocline depths newly inferred from foraminiferal assemblages. Stronger-than-present trade winds, and a more realistic simulation of the thermocline slope, are produced when eastern Pacific SSTs are 2°C cooler than western Pacific SSTs. Our study highlights the importance of spatial heterogeneity in tropical SSTs in determining key features of the glacial climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-108
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000

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    Liu, Z., Shin, S., Behling, P., Prell, W., Trend-Staid, M., Harrison, S. P., & Kutzbach, J. E. (2000). Dynamical and observational constraints on tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures at the last glacial maximum. Geophysical Research Letters, 27(1), 105-108. https://doi.org/10.1029/1999GL002321