Project 1610P: Southern Westerlies’ Evolution in Environments of the Past (SWEEP)

The Southern Hemisphere westerly winds (SHWW) are the dominant component of mid-latitude atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere. Importantly, they have been implicated as major driver of carbon release from the deep ocean reservoir during the last deglaciation. Thus, the SHWW are closely linked to regional and global climate. While shifts in the SHWW have been documented over seasonal and glacial cycles, many questions remain regarding SHWW variability on decadal to millennial timescales.

This project entails the formation of a temporary working group, comprised of researchers focusing on SHWW variability at intermediate timescales, whose aim is to combine recent datasets, incorporate modeling results, and create a robust, statistical picture of SHWW evolution. Additionally, this project will emphasize the involvement and contributions of PhD students and early career researchers, thereby incorporating INQUA’s charge to “involve where appropriate early-career or developing-country researchers in significant roles.”

In 2016, we created a community website (www.westerlywinds.org), established a network of researchers studying the SHWW, and will co-host a three-day  workshop in Santiago, Chile, in conjunction with the SHAPE IFG (2-4 Nov). We hope to have several more outcomes in the next year: (1) A special publication or issue that stems from our workshop; (2) A larger grant proposal for international, collaborative research; (3) Increased contribution from our community to data repositories, which will be a focus of our workshop; and (4) A continued web-presence to recruit new members and highlight the work of our community.

For further information please contact Jessica Hinojosa (hinojosa@gps.caltech.edu).