Indo-Pacific Warm Pool Area Expansion, Modoki Activity, and Tropical Cold-Point Tropopause Temperature Variations

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Fei Xie, LASG, IAP, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
The tropical cold-point tropopause temperature (CPTT), a potentially important indicator of global climate change, is of particular importance for understanding changes in stratospheric water vapor levels. Since the 1980s, the tropical CPTT has shown not only interannual variations, but also a decreasing trend. However, the factors controlling the variations in the tropical CPTT since the 1980s remain elusive. The present study reveals that the continuous expansion of the area of the Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP) since the 1980s represents an increase in the total heat energy of the IPWP available to heat the tropospheric air, which is likely to expand as a result. This process lifts the tropical cold-point tropopause height (CPTH) and leads to the observed long-term cooling trend of the tropical CPTT. In addition, our analysis shows that Modoki activity is an important factor in modulating the interannual variations of the tropical CPTT through significant effects on overshooting convection.