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Acceleration of the Brewer–Dobson Circulation due to Increases in Greenhouse Gases

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The acceleration of the Brewer–Dobson circulation under rising concentrations of greenhouse gases is investigated using the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model. The circulation strengthens as a result of increased wave driving in the subtropical lower stratosphere, which in turn occurs because of enhanced propagation and dissipation of waves in this region. Enhanced wave propagation is due to changes in tropospheric and lower-stratospheric zonal-mean winds, which become more westerly. Ultimately, these trends follow from changes in the zonal-mean temperature distribution caused by the greenhouse effect. The circulation in the middle and upper stratosphere also accelerates as a result of filtering of parameterized gravity waves by stronger subtropical westerly winds.

* The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation

Corresponding author address: Rolando R. Garcia, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. Email: rgarcia@ucar.edu

Abstract

The acceleration of the Brewer–Dobson circulation under rising concentrations of greenhouse gases is investigated using the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model. The circulation strengthens as a result of increased wave driving in the subtropical lower stratosphere, which in turn occurs because of enhanced propagation and dissipation of waves in this region. Enhanced wave propagation is due to changes in tropospheric and lower-stratospheric zonal-mean winds, which become more westerly. Ultimately, these trends follow from changes in the zonal-mean temperature distribution caused by the greenhouse effect. The circulation in the middle and upper stratosphere also accelerates as a result of filtering of parameterized gravity waves by stronger subtropical westerly winds.

* The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation

Corresponding author address: Rolando R. Garcia, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. Email: rgarcia@ucar.edu

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