The Mystery of the Expanding Tropics: From Past to Future (THEMES)

Lead PI: Laia Andreu-Hayles

Unit Affiliation: Biology and Paleo Environment, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

September 2017 - December 2020
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: This project aims to better understand the interaction between climate warming and the Hadley cell (a large-scale atmospheric movement that redistributes heat from the equator to the tropics), which is expanding the subtropical dry zones in the Southern hemisphere. THEMES will use a combination of scientific tools (biological records of past climates, meteorological observations and model simulations) to increase our understanding of the Hadley cell, the largest atmospheric circulation system on Earth that induces the formation of the world's subtropical deserts. In response to human-induced global changes, the Hadley Cell is expanding towards the poles, dramatically shifting regional rainfall patterns, and consequently, affecting millions of people worldwide. THEMES will provide relevant information for developing adaptation and mitigation policies in the subtropical regions. THEMES will convene, under a fruitful environment, current scientific capabilities in Europe and the Americas not only for improving our understanding of the global climate system, but also for strengthening technical capabilities by training new generations of scientists, and sharing experiences on methods and techniques to better understand our changing planet.


BNP Paribas Foundation




Milagros Rodriguez-Catón, Valérie Daux with Monique Pierre, Michel Stievenard, Françoise Vimeux, Myriam Khodri, Julian Villamayor, Ricardo Villalba, Ana Srur, Mariano Morales, Ignacio Mundo, Antonio Lara, Duncan Christie, Rob Wilson


Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement Université de Versailles Saint Quentin, Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat, Instituto Argentino de Nivología Glaciología y Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad Austral, St. Andrews University



dry zones atmospheric circulation climate regime shifts hadley cell tree rings


Modeling and Adapting to Future Climate


THEMES Project [EN] : understanding climate change in the subtropics