The Tropic Heat Program: An overview



Short-term climate changes which take place in both the tropics and at mid-latitudes are strongly influenced by large-scale fluctuations in near-equatorial ocean sea surface temperatures and by attendant fluctuations in air-sea fluxes of heat and moisture. In particular, there is evidence that changes in winter climate patterns over North America and in the Walker Circulation over the tropical Pacific Ocean are linked to changes in the upper equatorial Pacific Ocean thermal energy pool. This pool evolves in response to both local and distant sources of heat. Locally, solar radiation heats the ocean, while evaporation, equatorial upwelling, and vertical mixing cool it.