[Eoas-seminar] Meteorology MS Defense for Alec Mau, Friday, March 13, 2020, 1:30 PM, Love 353

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Fri Mar 6 08:15:55 EST 2020

Meteorology Seminar

Alec Mau

M.S. Meteorology Candidate

Title:  tropical-midlatitude interaction inferred from the shapes of annual cycles

Major Professor:  Dr. Zhaohua Wu

Date: Friday, March 13, 2020                            Time: 1:30 PM

Location: Werner A. Baum Seminar Room (353 Love Building)


A given location's annual cycle of surface temperature is often used as a reference framework for climate anomalies through which the seasonal and interannual variability of the Earth's climate system can be quantified. Since local climate trends can be explained by the same fundamental physics that power a basic energy balance climate model, one of these models could theoretically simulate Earth's land surface temperature trend and then be used to predict its future evolution. Although general circulation models (GCMs) are considered the most accurate climate simulations, they are highly complex to diagnose direct responses from perturbations to individual parameters. This study focuses on building and parameterizing a simplified conceptual energy balance climate model that will be tested to 1) simulate observational annual cycles to prove the model's reasonable validity and 2) discover how Earth's climate system in an energy balance framework is sensitive to the considered parameters. Detailed explanations of the selected parameters surface albedo, greenhouse gas concentration and meridional heat transport are presented. Sensitivity testing of these parameters reveals that both tropical and midlatitude annual cycles are particularly sensitive to the meridional heat transport rate, followed by moderate sensitivity to surface albedo and little sensitivity to the greenhouse gas parameter. As less tropical-midlatitude communication occurs with a weakening meridional temperature gradient, the period of maximum heat transport lengthens, reflecting reduced midlatitude seasonal variability. Reduced seasonal variability is also apparent in annual cycles with small amplitudes. The results of this study demonstrate the usefulness of studying climate through a simplified energy balance framework, even in a modern computer-intensive field with powerful GCMs.

Shel McGuire
Florida State University
Academic Program Specialist
Department of Earth, Ocean, & Atmospheric Science
1011 Academic Way, 2019 EOA Building
Tallahassee, FL 32306

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