Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 23 (2010): 4841–4855, doi:10.1175/2010JCLI3273.1.
A 1-Myr-long time-dependent solution of a zonally averaged ocean–atmosphere model subject to Milankovitch forcing is examined to gain insight into long-term changes in the planetary-scale meridional moisture flux in the atmosphere. The model components are a one-dimensional (latitudinal) atmospheric energy balance model with an active hydrological cycle and an ocean circulation model representing four basins (Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern Oceans). This study finds that the inclusion of an active hydrological cycle does not significantly modify the responses of annual-mean air and ocean temperatures to Milankovitch forcing found in previous integrations with a fixed hydrological cycle. Likewise, the meridional overturning circulation of the North Atlantic Ocean is not significantly affected by hydrological changes. Rather, it mainly responds to precessionally driven variations of ocean temperature in subsurface layers (between 70- and 500-m depth) of this basin. On the other hand, annual and zonal means of evaporation rate and meridional flux of moisture in the atmosphere respond notably to obliquity-driven changes in the meridional gradient of annual-mean insolation. Thus, when obliquity is decreased (increased), the meridional moisture flux in the atmosphere is intensified (weakened). This hydrological response is consistent with deuterium excess records from polar ice cores, which are characterized by dominant obliquity cycles.
A. A. thanks the Global Environmental
and Climate Change Centre of McGill University for a
Network Grant that made possible an enriching twoweek
stay at WHOI during June 2007. O. M. acknowledges
support from theU.S.National Science Foundation.
Support from a Canadian NSERC Discovery Grant
awarded to L.A.M. is gratefully acknowledged.
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