Global Warming

The effects of global warming on the ITCZ could be significant. Given that surface winds over the ocean tend to follow ocean currents, changes in the circulation of ocean currents brought about by global warming will also have a direct influence on the ITCZ, resulting in an intensification of precipitation in the ITCZ, according to S. Nawrath and A. Lever-mann. A simulation model of global warming (using a general circulation model, or GCM, with enhanced carbon dioxide, or CO2), indicates an increase in the ITCZ strength and hydrological cycle that accompany global warming, according to U. Cubasch, et al.

A key feature for nearly all GCM simulations of the climate under an enhanced CO2 is that increases of tropospheric water vapor along with a stronger ITCZ and hydrological cycle are required for any substantial global warming, as described by J.T. Houghton, et al., but once they do occur, these conditions create the potential for the development of more powerful storms, according to K.A. Emanuel. The stronger the ITCZ becomes, the more favorable are conditions for the development of major hurricanes in the central Atlantic. In general, global warming will result in an exaggeration of preexisting conditions, whereby wet areas become wetter and dry areas become drier.

SEE Also: Equatorial Countercurrent; Equatorial Undercurrent; Hurricanes and Typhoons; Monsoons.

bibliography. U. Cubasch, et al., "Time-Dependent Greenhouse Warming Computations with a Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Model," Climate Dynamics (v.8, 1992); K.A. Emanuel, "The Dependence of Hurricane Intensity on Climate," Nature (v.326, 1987); J.T. Houghton, et al., Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change (Cambridge Univeraity Press, 1996); S. Nawrath and A. Levermann, Response of Atlantic ITCZ to Changes in Strength of Oceanic Overturning Circulation and under Global Warming (European Geosciences Union, 2006).

Michael Joseph Simsik U.S. Peace Corps

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