Aerosol Forcing Masks and Delays the Formation of the North Atlantic Warming Hole by Three Decades

Guy Dagan*, Philip Stier, Duncan Watson-Parris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The North Atlantic warming hole (NAWH) is referred to as a reduced warming, or even cooling, of the North Atlantic during an anthropogenic-driven global warming. A NAWH is predicted by climate models during the 21st century, and its pattern is already emerging in observations. Despite the known key role of the North Atlantic surface temperatures in setting the Northern Hemisphere climate, the mechanisms behind the NAWH are still not fully understood. Using state-of-the-art climate models, we show that anthropogenic aerosol forcing opposes the formation of the NAWH (by leading to a local warming) and delays its emergence by about 30 years. In agreement with previous studies, we also demonstrate that the relative warming of the North Atlantic under aerosol forcing is due to changes in ocean heat fluxes, rather than air-sea fluxes. These results suggest that the predicted reduction in aerosol forcing during the 21st century may accelerate the formation of the NAWH.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere2020GL090778
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2020. The Authors.


  • AMOC
  • GHGs
  • North Atlantic
  • aerosol
  • warming hole


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