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Understanding the Mechanisms of the Mid-Pliocene Atlantic ITCZ Change and its impacts on tropical rainfall

Grant number: 19/08282-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): August 21, 2019
Effective date (End): August 20, 2020
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Physical Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Ilana Elazari Klein Coaracy Wainer
Grantee:Gabriel Marques Pontes
Supervisor: Andrea Sardinha Taschetto
Host Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia  
Associated to the scholarship:16/23670-0 - The Mid-Pliocene South Atlantic and Southern Ocean circulations as reference for the 21st century climate, BP.DD


The overarching aim of the current PhD project is to investigate the Mid-Pliocene climate in the South America/South Atlantic as a possible climate constraint for the end-of-century. The Mid-Pliocene climate is being investigated using model simulations results from the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project (PlioMIP). One important climate feature that is being analyzed is the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) that directly affects rainfall over the north and northeast regions of Brazil as well as southern regions through the South American Monsoon System. The ITCZ significantly shifts northwards in the Mid-Pliocene scenario, which illustrates changes in the inter-hemispheric heat contrast and readjustment of the atmospheric circulation. Two features of the Mid-Pliocene climate are likely major contributors for this change: reduced sea-ice extent and extratropical sea surface temperature (SST) amplification. In this context, this project aims to explore the relationship between sea-ice/SST and tropical rainfall through sensitivity climate model experiments and to analyze how tropical rainfall is changing in future projections. However, climate model experiments are only possible in supercomputers and the University of São Paulo does not provide this facility. Therefore, it is proposed to develop this project at the University of New South Wales, which affords the necessary infrastructure and expertise to perform climate model experiments. (AU)

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