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As a result of global warming, precipitation is likely to increase in high latitudes and the tropics and to decrease in already dry subtropical regions. The absolute magnitude and regional details of such changes, however, remain intensely debated. As is well known from El Niño studies, sea-surface-temperature gradients across the tropical Pacific Ocean can strongly influence global rainfall. Palaeoproxy evidence indicates that the difference between the warm west Pacific and the colder east Pacific increased in past periods when the Earth warmed as a result of increased solar radiation. In contrast, in most model projections of future greenhouse warming this gradient weakens. It has not been clear how to reconcile these two findings. Here we show in climate model simulations that the tropical Pacific sea-surface-temperature gradient increases when the warming is due to increased solar radiation and decreases when it is due to increased greenhouse-gas forcing. For the same global surface temperature increase the latter pattern produces less rainfall, notably over tropical land, which explains why in the model the late twentieth century is warmer than in the Medieval Warm Period (around AD 1000-1250) but precipitation is less. This difference is consistent with the global tropospheric energy budget, which requires a balance between the latent heat released in precipitation and radiative cooling. The tropospheric cooling is less for increased greenhouse gases, which add radiative absorbers to the troposphere, than for increased solar heating, which is concentrated at the Earth's surface. Thus warming due to increased greenhouse gases produces a climate signature different from that of warming due to solar radiation changes.
Key Laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment of Ministry of Education, School of Geography Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was published in the following journal.
Global climate models simulate a robust increase of global mean precipitation of about 1.5 to 2% per kelvin surface warming in response to greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing. Here, it is shown that the sens...
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A method which uses specific precipitation reactions to separate or collect substances from a solution.
Any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). It may result from natural factors such as changes in the sun's intensity, natural processes within the climate system such as changes in ocean circulation, or human activities.
Increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface and in the troposphere, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns.
Immunized T-lymphocytes which can directly destroy appropriate target cells. These cytotoxic lymphocytes may be generated in vitro in mixed lymphocyte cultures (MLC), in vivo during a graft-versus-host (GVH) reaction, or after immunization with an allograft, tumor cell or virally transformed or chemically modified target cell. The lytic phenomenon is sometimes referred to as cell-mediated lympholysis (CML). These CD8-positive cells are distinct from NATURAL KILLER CELLS and NATURAL KILLER T-CELLS. There are two effector phenotypes: TC1 and TC2.
A progressive form of dementia characterized by the global loss of language abilities and initial preservation of other cognitive functions. Fluent and nonfluent subtypes have been described. Eventually a pattern of global cognitive dysfunction, similar to ALZHEIMER DISEASE, emerges. Pathologically, there are no Alzheimer or PICK DISEASE like changes, however, spongiform changes of cortical layers II and III are present in the TEMPORAL LOBE and FRONTAL LOBE. (From Brain 1998 Jan;121(Pt 1):115-26)