The Role of the Wind-Evaporation-Sea Surface Temperature (WES) Feedback as a Thermodynamic Pathway for the Equatorward Propagation of High-Latitude Sea Ice-Induced Cold Anomalies Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract The role of the windevaporationsea surface temperature (WES) feedback in the propagation of the high-latitude cooling signal to the tropical oceans using the NCAR atmospheric Community Climate Model (CCM3) coupled thermodynamically to a slab-ocean model (SOM) is studied. Abruptly imposed additional Northern Hemispheric sea ice cover equivalent to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 18 kyr BP) in the model causes a Northern Hemispherewide cooling, as well as the generation and amplification of an anomalous cross-equatorial meridional SST dipole associated with a southward migration of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) stabilizing within a period of 5 yr. In experiments where the WES feedback is switched off explicitly by modifying the sensible and latent heat flux bulk aerodynamic formulations over the oceans in CCM3, imposed Northern Hemispheric sea ice also results in widespread northern cooling at the same rate as the unmodified run, suggesting that the WES feedback is not essential in the propagation of the high-latitude cooling signal to the deep tropics. However, the WES-off experiment generates a weaker cross-equatorial SST dipole with a modest southward movement of the ITCZ, suggesting that the WES feedback is responsible for amplifying SST and atmospheric anomalies in the deep tropics during their transition to the new equilibrium state. The propagation of high-latitude cooling to the deep tropics is proposed to be caused by the decrease of near-surface specific humidity in the northern tropics.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Mahajan, S., Saravanan, R., & Chang, P.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Mahajan, Salil||Saravanan, R||Chang, Ping

publication date

  • January 1, 2011 11:11 AM