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Possible Dynamical Mechanisms for Southern Hemisphere Climate Change due to the Ozone Hole

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  • 1 British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • | 2 European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom
  • | 3 Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
  • | 4 British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • | 5 University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The authors report a hypothesis for the dynamical mechanisms responsible for the strengthening of the Southern Hemisphere circumpolar winds from the lower stratosphere to the surface due to the ozone hole. A general circulation model forced by stratospheric ozone depletion representative of the ozone hole period successfully reproduced these observed changes. Investigation of the dynamical characteristics of the model therefore provides some insight into the actual mechanisms. From this the authors suggest the following: 1) An initial (radiative) strengthening of the lower-stratospheric winds as a result of ozone depletion conditions the polar vortex so that fewer planetary waves propagate up from the troposphere, resulting in weaker planetary wave driving. 2) This causes further strengthening of the vortex, which results in an additional reduction in upward-propagating planetary waves and initiates a positive feedback mechanism in which the weaker wave driving and the associated strengthened winds are drawn downward to the tropopause. 3) In the troposphere the midlatitude jet shifts poleward in association with increases in the synoptic wave fluxes of heat and momentum, which are the result of a positive feedback mechanism consisting of two components: 4) increases in low-level baroclinicity, and the subsequent generation of baroclinic activity (associated with a poleward heat flux), are collocated with the jet latitudinal position, and 5) strengthening anticyclonic shear increases the refraction of wave activity equatorward (associated with a poleward momentum flux). Finally, 6) confinement of planetary waves in the high-latitude troposphere is an important step to couple the stratospheric changes to the tropospheric response.

Current affiliation: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Bremerhaven, Germany.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Andrew Orr, British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, United Kingdom. E-mail: anmcr@bas.ac.uk

Abstract

The authors report a hypothesis for the dynamical mechanisms responsible for the strengthening of the Southern Hemisphere circumpolar winds from the lower stratosphere to the surface due to the ozone hole. A general circulation model forced by stratospheric ozone depletion representative of the ozone hole period successfully reproduced these observed changes. Investigation of the dynamical characteristics of the model therefore provides some insight into the actual mechanisms. From this the authors suggest the following: 1) An initial (radiative) strengthening of the lower-stratospheric winds as a result of ozone depletion conditions the polar vortex so that fewer planetary waves propagate up from the troposphere, resulting in weaker planetary wave driving. 2) This causes further strengthening of the vortex, which results in an additional reduction in upward-propagating planetary waves and initiates a positive feedback mechanism in which the weaker wave driving and the associated strengthened winds are drawn downward to the tropopause. 3) In the troposphere the midlatitude jet shifts poleward in association with increases in the synoptic wave fluxes of heat and momentum, which are the result of a positive feedback mechanism consisting of two components: 4) increases in low-level baroclinicity, and the subsequent generation of baroclinic activity (associated with a poleward heat flux), are collocated with the jet latitudinal position, and 5) strengthening anticyclonic shear increases the refraction of wave activity equatorward (associated with a poleward momentum flux). Finally, 6) confinement of planetary waves in the high-latitude troposphere is an important step to couple the stratospheric changes to the tropospheric response.

Current affiliation: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Bremerhaven, Germany.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Andrew Orr, British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, United Kingdom. E-mail: anmcr@bas.ac.uk
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