Has the Hadley cell been strengthening in recent decades?



[1] The intensity and structure of the Northern Hemisphere DJF Hadley cell as depicted in various commonly used data sets are examined. We find that the NCEP/NCAR and ECMWF reanalyses show a statistically significant intensification of their Hadley circulation throughout their periods. In marked contrast the NCEP-DOE reanalysis does not show any discernible trend over its period. Furthermore, the Hadley cell structure differs substantially from the other two reanalyses. We also examine a data set of global rawinsonde observations in which the Hadley cell shows no intensification. Finally, we investigate the Hadley cell simulated by an atmospheric GCM. The ensemble mean shows a statistically significant intensification, though it is smaller in magnitude than the reanalyses. We conclude that the two major reanalyses appear to be in agreement on the strengthening of the Hadley cell in recent decades. However, discrepancies among data sets do raise questions about the robustness of this strengthening.