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Dynamical Mechanism for the Increase in Tropical Upwelling in the Lowermost Tropical Stratosphere during Warm ENSO Events

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  • 1 Atmospheric Chemistry Division, NCAR,* Boulder, Colorado, and Departamento de Física de la Tierra II, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • | 2 Atmospheric Chemistry Division, NCAR,* Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The Brewer–Dobson circulation strengthens in the lowermost tropical stratosphere during warm El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Dynamical analyses using the most recent version of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model show that this is due mainly to anomalous forcing by orographic gravity waves, which maximizes in the Northern Hemisphere subtropics between 18 and 22 km, especially during the strongest warm ENSO episodes. Anomalies in the meridional gradient of temperature in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) are produced during warm ENSO events, accompanied by anomalies in the location and intensity of the subtropical jets. This anomalous wind pattern alters the propagation and dissipation of the parameterized gravity waves, which ultimately force increases in tropical upwelling in the lowermost stratosphere. During cold ENSO events a similar signal, but of opposite sign, is present in the model simulations. The signals in ozone and water vapor produced by ENSO events in the UTLS are also investigated.

Corresponding author address: Natalia Calvo, Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. Email: calvo@ucar.edu

Abstract

The Brewer–Dobson circulation strengthens in the lowermost tropical stratosphere during warm El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Dynamical analyses using the most recent version of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model show that this is due mainly to anomalous forcing by orographic gravity waves, which maximizes in the Northern Hemisphere subtropics between 18 and 22 km, especially during the strongest warm ENSO episodes. Anomalies in the meridional gradient of temperature in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) are produced during warm ENSO events, accompanied by anomalies in the location and intensity of the subtropical jets. This anomalous wind pattern alters the propagation and dissipation of the parameterized gravity waves, which ultimately force increases in tropical upwelling in the lowermost stratosphere. During cold ENSO events a similar signal, but of opposite sign, is present in the model simulations. The signals in ozone and water vapor produced by ENSO events in the UTLS are also investigated.

Corresponding author address: Natalia Calvo, Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. Email: calvo@ucar.edu

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