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Bolin Centre Seminar Series | Research Area 1

Welcome to the third seminar in the Bolin Centre Seminar Series!

The host is Research Area 1: Ocean-atmosphere dynamics and climate

Contrasting the Hydrological Cycle in Past and Future Warm Climates – with implications for Ocean Overturning Circulation

Natalie Burls, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Earth Sciences, George Mason UniversitySpeaker: Natalie Burls, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Earth Sciences, George Mason University
Time: March 8 at 11h15–12h15
Place: Ahlmannsalen, Geoscience Building

The lectures will usually be streamed and saved on the Bolin Centre website.



Abstract:
During the warm Miocene and Pliocene epochs, subtropical regions had enough precipitation to support rich vegetation and fauna. Only with global cooling and the onset of glacial cycles some 3 million years ago, towards the end of the Pliocene, did the broad patterns of arid and semi-arid subtropical regions become fully developed. However, current projections of future global warming caused by CO2 rise generally suggest the intensification of dry conditions over these subtropical regions, rather than the return to a wetter state. What makes future projections different from these past warm climates? In an effort to answer this question, this talk focuses specifically on the warm Pliocene – the most recent time in Earth’s history during which reconstructed atmospheric CO2 concentrations are estimated to have been in the region of 400ppm. We investigate this question by comparing a typical quadrupling-of-CO2 experiment with a simulation driven by sea surface temperatures closely resembling available reconstructions for the early Pliocene. Sensitivity studies exploring cloud controls on tropical climate, and theoretical arguments inferring Pliocene cloud radiative forcing will be discussed, as well as implications for the meridional ocean overturning circulation in the Pacific basin during the Pliocene.

A lunch sandwich will be served, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like one.

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