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Tropical moist convection an important driver of Atlantic Hadley circulation variability

Tomassini, L. and Yang, G.-Y. ORCID: (2022) Tropical moist convection an important driver of Atlantic Hadley circulation variability. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 148 (748). pp. 3287-3302. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.4359


The exact role of moist deep convection and associated latent heating in the tropical Hadley circulation has been debated for many years. This study investigates the connection between moist convection and the strength of the upper-level meridional circulation over the tropical Atlantic, focusing mainly on one particular boreal winter season. There is a close relationship between events of strong organised deep convection and enhanced meridional upper-level wind on many occasions. A process-based analysis of specific events suggests that moist convection impacts Hadley circulation variability on time-scales of days to months through equatorial wave dynamics. Equatorial waves play an important role, both directly by contributing to the Hadley circulation via their meridional wind component and also indirectly by triggering moist convection through low-level convergence. Specific Hadley circulation surge events, short-term, regionally confined intensifications of the upper-level meridional circulation, can be attributed to enhanced organised moist convection and equatorial wave activity in many cases, with implications for trade wind cloudiness. The findings thus elucidate how the mean Hadley circulation is shaped by and composed of temporally and spatially varying convection–circulation interactions.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:108601
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


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