Variability of the extent of the Hadley circulation in the southern hemisphere: a regional perspective

  • H. Nguyen
  • H. H. Hendon
  • E. -P. Lim
  • G. Boschat
  • E. Maloney
  • B. Timbal

DOI: 10.1007/s00382-017-3592-2

Cite this article as:
Nguyen, H., Hendon, H.H., Lim, E.P. et al. Clim Dyn (2017). doi:10.1007/s00382-017-3592-2


In order to understand the regional impacts of variations in the extent of the Hadley circulation in the Southern Hemisphere, regional Hadley circulations are defined in three sectors centered on the main tropical heat sources over Africa, Asia-Pacific (Maritime Continent) and the Americas. These regional circulations are defined by computing a streamfunction from the divergent component of the meridional wind. A major finding from this study is that year-to-year variability in the extent of the hemispheric Hadley circulation in the Southern Hemisphere is primarily governed by variations of the extent of the Hadley circulation in the Asia-Pacific sector, especially during austral spring and summer when there is little co-variability with the African sector, and the American sector exhibits an out of phase behavior. An expanded Hadley circulation in the Southern Hemisphere (both hemispherically and in the Asia-Pacific sector) is associated with La Niña conditions and a poleward expansion of the tropical wet zone in the Asia-Pacific sector. While La Niña also promotes expansion in the American and African sectors during austral winter, these tropical conditions tend to promote contraction in the two sectors during austral summer as a result of compensating convergence over the Americas and Africa sectors: a process driven by variations in the Walker circulation and Rossby wave trains emanating from the tropical Indian Ocean.

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Victorian Climate Initiative
    National Science Foundation
    • AGS-1441916
    Australian Research Council
    • DP140102855

    Copyright information

    © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

    Authors and Affiliations

    1. 1.Bureau of MeteorologyMelbourneAustralia
    2. 2.Department of Atmospheric ScienceColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
    3. 3.ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and School of Earth SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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