SEAS Colloquium in Climate Science with David Thompson, CO State
Speaker: David WJ Thompson,
Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University (CSU)
School of Environmental Sciences, UEA
Title: Understanding two key aspects of surface temperature variability
Abstract: In this talk I will explore two key aspects of surface temperature variability: 1) The processes that govern low-frequency temperature variability, and 2) Changes in the day-to-day “memory” in surface temperature under climate change.
The first part will focus on the role of the ocean in sea-surface temperature variability. The key conclusion is that ocean processes do not drive low-frequency surface temperature variability, as is widely assumed. Rather, they appear to damp low frequency climate variability. The upshot is that observed decadal variability – such as that associated with Atlantic decadal variability and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation – can not be traced to ocean processes.
The second part will explore changes in the memory of surface temperature under climate change. Here the key finding is that temperature persistence is certain to change across the globe, but that the signs of the changes depend critically on various physical processes. I will argue that one key but overlooked process is the changes in radiative damping timescales under climate change.
Bio: Dave Thompson conducts research broadly in the area of large-scale climate variability, with interests in large-scale dynamics, atmosphere-ocean interactions, coupled chemistry-climate interactions, the role of clouds in climate variability, and the physical processes that govern climate change. He is jointly located in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, and the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia.