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Aerosols add a new wrinkle to climate change in the tropical Pacific Ocean


(© A new Yale study suggests that aerosols in the atmosphere may be temporarily holding down ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, are an indication that the surprisingly modest warming observed in the tropical Pacific in recent decades may be short-lived, with more dramatic changes yet to come. The results also may help climate scientists make better predictions for how global warming will affect weather patterns, ecosystems, and storm impacts throughout the Pacific rim.

“Understanding how the tropics are changing due to global warming is an important task for scientists to tackle because this region is a key driver of weather and climate events around the globe,” said first author Ulla Heede, a graduate student in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Yale.

The study’s senior author is Yale climate scientist Alexey Fedorov, a professor of ocean and atmospheric sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Fedorov’s work investigates global weather systems and phenomena such as the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, one of the planet’s largest water circulation systems, and El Niño events.

In the new study, Heede and Fedorov focus on the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, a region […]

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