Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 33–44 | Cite as

Observational evidence for poleward expansion of the Hadley circulation

  • Yongyun Hu (胡永云)
  • Chen Zhou (周 晨)
  • Jiping Liu (刘骥平)


How the Hadley circulation changes in response to global climate change and how its change impacts upon regional and global climates has generated a lot of interest in the literature in the past few years. In this paper, consistent and statistically significant poleward expansion of the Hadley circulation in the past few decades is demonstrated, using independent observational datasets as proxy measures of the Hadley circulation. Both observational outgoing longwave radiation and precipitation datasets show an annual average total poleward expansion of the Hadley cells of about 3.6° latitude. Sea level pressure from observational and reanalysis datasets show smaller magnitudes of poleward expansion, of about 1.2° latitude. Ensemble general circulation model simulations forced by observed time-varying sea surface temperatures were found to generate a total poleward expansion of about 1.23° latitude. Possible mechanisms behind the changes in the horizontal extent of the Hadley circulation are discussed.

Key words

Hadley circulation outgoing longwave radiation precipitation sea level pressure climate change 


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Copyright information

© Chinese National Committee for International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Science Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yongyun Hu (胡永云)
    • 1
    • 3
  • Chen Zhou (周 晨)
    • 1
  • Jiping Liu (刘骥平)
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of PhysicsPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid DynamicsInstitute of Atmospheric PhysicsBeijingChina
  3. 3.Laboratory for Climate and Ocean-Atmosphere StudiesPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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