Climate Dynamics

, Volume 45, Issue 11–12, pp 3019–3034 | Cite as

The role of the PMOC in modulating the deglacial shift of the ITCZ

  • Wei LiuEmail author
  • Aixue Hu


Based on an energy-constraint framework, the effect of the Pacific meridional overturning circulation (PMOC) has been investigated on the meridional shift of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). During Heinrich Event 1, the global ITCZ displaces southward in response to a shutdown of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). However, the PMOC resumes and induces an enhanced northward meridional heat transport (MHT). Further analyses show that the resumption of the PMOC and its associated MHT can relieve the decrease of oceanic cross-equatorial heat transport by the collapsed AMOC and lower the compensating decline of atmospheric cross-equatorial meridional heat transport by 0.09PW, leading to an offset of the southward shift of the global ITCZ by 0.5°. Regionally the developed PMOC does not affect the southward movement of the Atlantic ITCZ much since the latter is dominated by the collapsed AMOC that induces the change of Atlantic MHT. In contrast, the PMOC-induced northward heat transport largely abates the hemispheric temperature contrast in the tropical Pacific and reduces the southward ITCZ shift by as much as 5° in the eastern Pacific.


PMOC AMOC ITCZ Meridional heat transport Last deglaciation Bering Strait 



WL is supported by NSF AGS-1249145. A portion of this study was supported by the Regional and Global Climate Modelling Program (RGCM) of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science (BER), Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC02-97ER62402. This research used computing resources of the Climate Simulation Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation; the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center which are both supported by the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scripps Institution of Oceanography, CASPOUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Climate and Global Dynamics DivisionNational Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA

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