Width of the Hadley cell in simple and comprehensive general circulation models
Article first published online: 19 SEP 2007
Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 34, Issue 18, September 2007
How to Cite
2007), Width of the Hadley cell in simple and comprehensive general circulation models, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L18804, doi:10.1029/2007GL031115., , and (
- Issue published online: 19 SEP 2007
- Article first published online: 19 SEP 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 AUG 2007
- Manuscript Revised: 14 AUG 2007
- Manuscript Received: 24 JUN 2007
 The width of the Hadley cell is studied over a wide range of climate regimes using both simple and comprehensive atmospheric general circulation models. Aquaplanet, fixed sea surface temperature lower boundary conditions are used in both models to study the response of the Hadley cell width to changes in both global mean temperature and pole-to-equator temperature gradient. The primary sensitivity of both models is a large expansion of the Hadley cell with increased mean temperature. The models also exhibit a smaller increase in width with temperature gradient. The Hadley cell widths agree well with a scaling theory by Held which assumes that the width is determined by the latitude where baroclinic eddies begin to occur. As surface temperatures are warmed, the latitude of baroclinic instability onset is shifted poleward due to increases in the static stability of the subtropics, which is increased in an atmosphere with higher moisture content.