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.

Related Articles


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 April 19, 2015 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 April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

AFP (Apr. 18, 2015) — In the Himalayan town of Lukla, excitement mingles with fear as mountaineers make their way up to Everest a year after an avalanche killed 16 guides and triggered an unprecedented shut-down of the world&apos;s highest peak. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) — "Water cops" in Los Angeles remind the public about water conservation methods amid California&apos;s prolonged drought. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

AFP (Apr. 17, 2015) — Scientists gathered at a European Space Agency (ESA) facility outside Rome this week for the Planetary Defence Conference 2015 to discuss how to tackle the potential threat from asteroids hitting Earth. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) — Five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, splotches of oil still dot the seafloor and wads of tarry petroleum-smelling material hide in pockets in the marshes of Barataria Bay. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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