Climate Dynamics

, Volume 38, Issue 3–4, pp 761–774 | Cite as

Sensitivity of the Humboldt Current system to global warming: a downscaling experiment of the IPSL-CM4 model

  • Vincent Echevin
  • Katerina Goubanova
  • Ali Belmadani
  • Boris Dewitte


The impact of climate warming on the seasonal variability of the Humboldt Current system ocean dynamics is investigated. The IPSL-CM4 large scale ocean circulation resulting from two contrasted climate scenarios, the so-called Preindustrial and quadrupling CO2, are downscaled using an eddy-resolving regional ocean circulation model. The intense surface heating by the atmosphere in the quadrupling CO2 scenario leads to a strong increase of the surface density stratification, a thinner coastal jet, an enhanced Peru–Chile undercurrent, and an intensification of nearshore turbulence. Upwelling rates respond quasi-linearly to the change in wind stress associated with anthropogenic forcing, and show a moderate decrease in summer off Peru and a strong increase off Chile. Results from sensitivity experiments show that a 50% wind stress increase does not compensate for the surface warming resulting from heat flux forcing and that the associated mesoscale turbulence increase is a robust feature.


Regional climate change Peru–Chile upwelling system Mesoscale dynamics Coastal upwelling 



Numerical simulations were performed on the IDRIS NEC-SX8 calculator. V. Echevin and B. Dewitte are funded by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). K. Goubanova was supported by the AXA foundation. A. Belmadani was co-funded by the IRD Département de Soutien et Formation (DSF), Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS). All authors received support from the PCCC and PEPS-VMCS2008 ANR projects during the development of this work. F. Colas is acknowledged for providing the matlab routines used to calculate the barotropic and baroclinic instability energy conversion terms.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Echevin
    • 1
  • Katerina Goubanova
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ali Belmadani
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Boris Dewitte
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.LOCEANParisFrance
  2. 2.LEGOSToulouseFrance
  3. 3.IMARPE, IGP, LEGOSLimaPeru
  4. 4.IPRC, International Pacific Research Center, SOESTUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluHawaii

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