HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Global warming is often thought of as, well, a global phenomenon. But the world is actually warming at different rates ― and new research from a University of Hawaii professor is helping shed light on why.
A study published this week in Nature Climate Change ― led by UH-Manoa oceanography Professor Malte Stuecker ― reveals that future warming in subtropical regions will actually speed up climate change in the tropics.
“To understand this surprising phenomenon, one has to understand how different areas interact with each other climatically,” said Stuecker, in a news release.
The next area of research: Scientists want to determine why the tropics are forecast to warm significantly faster than other parts of the globe.
The study’s conclusion is based on a new model aimed at understanding how regional differences in future global warming will work.
“Warming in one area can affect the degree of warming in another place,” said Fei-Fei Jin, co-author of the study and UH atmospheric sciences professor, in a news release. “We are starting to appreciate how strongly different areas are connected in the climate system.”
To conduct the study, researchers used their computer model to simulate a pronounced warming in tropical oceans in response to future fossil fuel burning.
They found that this warming can influence El Niño and change weather and rainfall patterns.
In fact, the team discovered that subtropical warming heats up ocean temperatures in the tropics about 40% more than if the same amount of extra energy entered the Earth’s atmosphere in tropical regions.