Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Eastern U.S. Keeps Its Cool While The World Warms

Date:
January 31, 2001
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office
Summary:
Much of the Earth has warmed over the last half-century, but the eastern half of the United States has shown a cooling trend. NASA-funded research indicates cooler temperatures in the eastern U.S. are caused by an increase in sun-shielding clouds produced by warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific.

Much of the Earth has warmed over the last half-century, but the eastern half of the United States has shown a cooling trend. NASA-funded research indicates cooler temperatures in the eastern U.S. are caused by an increase in sun-shielding clouds produced by warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific.

Walter A. Robinson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, James Hansen of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Reto Reudy of Science Systems and Applications, Inc. will present these findings in a paper entitled "Where's the Heat? Insights From GCM Experiments into the Lack of Eastern U.S. Warming" at the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, N.M. on January 15.

Eastern U.S. temperatures have displayed a cooling trend of 0.1° Celsius per decade, while global temperatures warmed by that same amount from 1950 to 1997. The researchers used a computer climate model to see if this regional cooling could be caused by changes in sea surface temperature. Robinson said that in the GISS model, "Warmer sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific cause greater cloud cover over the eastern United States. This increased cloud cover is directly responsible for the cooling." The brightness of a cloud causes a large percentage of incoming solar radiation to be reflected back into space, thus keeping the atmosphere cooler than if the cloud wasn’t there.

Using the climate simulations, Robinson found the amount of water vapor in the Gulf of Mexico follows closely the water vapor released by the warm sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Water vapor from the Pacific moves east to the Gulf of Mexico and is then carried over the eastern U.S. by the clockwise circulation around an Atlantic subtropical high pressure system. When the water vapor arrives over the U.S. it condenses and generates more cloud cover, allowing less solar radiation to reach and warm the Earth's surface.

Robinson's research utilized the GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) "general circulation model," which simulates the circulation of the atmosphere around the world and used sea surface temperatures from around the globe.

In order to create a focus on sea-surface temperatures in the model runs, three components that can contribute to warming or climate forcing, were "fixed." These are aerosols (particles in the atmosphere), solar irradiance or brightness, and greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide). Because these factors were fixed, they can be ruled out as the cause of cooling in the model, leaving only sea surface temperatures as a variable.

The GISS model used ocean temperature data over a 47-year span, from 1950 to 1997 and looked at global sea surface temperatures in different areas. The model used temperatures from 20 degrees north to 20 degrees south, and from each of those endpoints to each pole. The only time the model showed significant cooling in the eastern United States was when the tropical Pacific waters warmed.

For more information about the American Meteorological Society's 81st Annual meeting, please visit the web site: http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS/meet/81annual/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. "The Eastern U.S. Keeps Its Cool While The World Warms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010117074847.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. (2001, January 31). The Eastern U.S. Keeps Its Cool While The World Warms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010117074847.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. "The Eastern U.S. Keeps Its Cool While The World Warms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010117074847.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) — AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins