Energetic Constraints on the Time-Dependent Response of the ITCZ to Volcanic Eruptions

Moran Erez, Ori Adam

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5 Scopus citations


Energetic constraints on the time-dependent response of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) to volcanic eruptions are analyzed using the Community Earth System Model Last Millennium Ensemble project. The energetic constraints are found to vary during the first few years, governed by conjoined variations of the energy budgets of the stratosphere, troposphere, and oceans. Specifically, following eruptions, sulfate aerosols heat the stratosphere by longwave absorption and cool the surface by shortwave reflection, leading to contrasting energy transport anomalies in the stratosphere and troposphere, which are of comparable strength during the first year. Similar contrasting responses are also seen by the mean and eddy components of atmospheric energy transport (AET). Consequently, ocean energy transport (OET) dominates the anomalous total interhemispheric energy transport during the first year. However, wind-driven OET, generally assumed to constrain shifts of the ITCZ, has a negligible role in the transient ocean response. Consistent with theory, anomalous cross-equatorial tropospheric energy transport, dominated by the anomalous Hadley circulation, is strongly negatively correlated with ITCZ shifts. However, due to the strong anomalous stratospheric energy fluxes, the commonly used energy flux equator (derived from net AET) is a poor predictor of transient ITCZ shifts following eruptions. El Niño like conditions typically appear during the second year after eruptions, and La Niña like conditions appear after the third year. These variations modulate ITCZ shifts in a complex manner, via changes in surface conditions and in associated energy transport variations in the atmosphere and oceans.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9989-10006
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number24
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2021

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  • Atmospheric circulation
  • Energy transport
  • Intertropical convergence zone
  • Stratosphere troposphere coupling


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