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Impacts of ocean gateway and basin width on Tertiary tropical climate variability in a prototype model


Using a simple tropical climate model, we investigated possible impacts of changes in oceanic seaways (Panama and Tethys) and ocean basin sizes (great Pacific and narrow Atlantic) on tropical climate variability during Tertiary. Our model showed that the opening of seaways had little influence on climate variability in the tropical Pacific because the climate variability in the Pacific Ocean’s large basins were internally generated, regardless of the variation in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Conversely, the climate variability in the tropical Atlantic Ocean was highly dependent on the tropical Pacific Ocean; thus, an opening seaway, particularly the Panama seaway, was crucial in generating the interannual variability in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. We also found that in the Pacific Ocean, basin size strongly modified the period and amplitude of the interannual variability of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans due to ocean wave dynamics.

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This work was funded by Grant RACS_2010-2601 from the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program.

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Correspondence to Soon-Il An.

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An, SI., Park, JH., Kim, BM. et al. Impacts of ocean gateway and basin width on Tertiary tropical climate variability in a prototype model. Theor Appl Climatol 107, 155–164 (2012).

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  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Rossby Wave
  • Thermocline Depth
  • Tropical Atlantic Ocean
  • Basin Size