Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate changes in the Atlantic can affect drought in distant regions

Date:
June 29, 2010
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
Cyclical changes in atmospheric pressure and sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean affect drought in the Sahel region on the southern Sahara rim.

La Falaise in Dogon country, Mali. Cyclical changes in atmospheric pressure and sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean affect drought in the Sahel region on the southern Sahara rim.
Credit: iStockphoto/David Kerkhoff

Cyclical changes in atmospheric pressure and sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean affect drought in the Sahel region on the southern Sahara rim. This has been revealed in an international study carried out by researchers from the University of Haifa, the French National Meteorological Service, Columbia University and the University of San Diego. The study was published recently in the scientific journal Atmospheric Science Letters.

That climate variability in one region can have an effect on more distant areas is known in the climate research literature -- the challenge being to locate these far-connections and understand their projections. The current study, co-authored by Dr. Shlomit Paz of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa, analyzed a number of climate parameters in the North Atlantic over the 20th century, including atmospheric pressure at sea level and sea surface temperature. They revealed two "natural climate signals": a multi-decadal signal of a period exceeding 40 years, and a quasi-decadal signal with periodicity ranging from 8 to 14 years. These two signals may cancel or enhance one another.

In order to establish these findings, the scientists compared them with climactic fluctuations as observed in coral and tree-ring studies, by which the temperature values of the past few hundred years can be reconstructed. The signals were identified in this case too.

Next the researchers identified a correlation between the cyclical waves and droughts in the Sahel region: When the Atlantic Ocean cools, there are droughts in the region, and when the Ocean temperature rises, rain returns to the Sahel region. They also found that during drought periods in the Sahel, the force of hurricanes in the Atlantic drops; and vice versa.

This is not merely a theoretical study, Dr. Paz explains. The Sahel region suffered drought over more than 20 years, from the 1970s to the mi-1990s, which caused deep environmental and social crises, such as hunger, civilian desertion, ethnic conflicts, and more. In 2007 the UN published a report stating that the situation in Darfur was intensified by the ongoing drought in the Sahel region and its surroundings.

This study contributes to information availability for climatic models, thereby improving their prediction capability. The researchers are currently investigating whether current human activity has an impact on these phenomena and are examining the effects of the signals on today's climate in Europe. They note that the thermal imbalance caused by urban development makes the research more challenging. "Today we are able to gain a better understanding of how the oceans play an important role in the earth's 'climate memory'. Once we become familiar with the natural signals, we will be able to better understand how the human factor correlates with climate," Dr. Paz states.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. M. Tourre, S. Paz, Y. Kushnir, W. B. White. Low-frequency climate variability in the Atlantic basin during the 20th century. Atmospheric Science Letters, 2010; DOI: 10.1002/asl.265

Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "Climate changes in the Atlantic can affect drought in distant regions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616102754.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2010, June 29). Climate changes in the Atlantic can affect drought in distant regions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616102754.htm
University of Haifa. "Climate changes in the Atlantic can affect drought in distant regions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616102754.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. 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