Nature Climate Change Article – Diminished Atlantic-Pacific Connection in Global Climate Models

This article, co-authored by SMURPHS researchers Prof. Mat Collins and Dr. Jules Kajtar, sheds light on the diminished Atlantic-Pacific connection in global climate models

In recent decades, the Pacific trade winds strengthened to levels never seen in the observational record. This strengthening has been associated with the early twenty-first-century slowdown in global surface warming. Although climate models could reproduce the timing of the change in the winds, they were not able to reproduce the magnitude of the strengthening. Earlier research had shown that a warming Atlantic Ocean was a key driver of the Pacific trade wind trends. This study shows, through targeted model experiments, that Atlantic mean-state model biases act to hamper the connection between the tropical Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Correcting these biases in future model generations should help to refine global climate forecasting on decadal time-scales.