How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Modeling the Western Pacific Dynamic Warm Pool Edge
Paper Reviewed
Brown, J.N., Langlais, C. and Maes, C. 2014. Zonal structure and variability of the Western Pacific dynamic warm pool edge in CMIP5. Climate Dynamics 42: 3061-3076.

Writing as background for their work, Brown et al. (2014) state "the equatorial edge of the Western Pacific Warm Pool is operationally identified by one isotherm ranging between 28° and 29°C," which is "chosen to align with the inter-annual variability of strong zonal salinity gradients and the convergence of zonal ocean currents." Brown et al. simulated this edge in 19 different models that were involved in the World Climate Research Program's Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), over the period 1950 to 2000.

Based on the simulations, the three researchers found that various aspects of the dynamic warm pool edge or DWPE "remain difficult for coupled models to simulate," including (1) the mean longitude, (2) the inter-annual excursions, and (3) the zonal convergence of ocean currents. In addition, they say some models find it (4) "difficult to even identify a DWPE," and that if they can identify one, they say (5) the models' DWPEs "are generally 1-2°C cooler than observed."

In light of such findings, Brown et al. conclude "the inability of a model to simulate sea surface temperature structure and the location of the DWPE impedes understanding of climate change signals," which is a serious shortcoming that has yet to be rectified.

Reviewed 17 September 2014