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Response of the Middle Atmosphere to CO2 Doubling: Results from the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model

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  • * Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • | + Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • | # Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

The Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM) has been used to examine the middle atmosphere response to CO2 doubling. The radiative-photochemical response induced by doubling CO2 alone and the response produced by changes in prescribed SSTs are found to be approximately additive, with the former effect dominating throughout the middle atmosphere. The paper discusses the overall response, with emphasis on the effects of SST changes, which allow a tropospheric response to the CO2 forcing. The overall response is a cooling of the middle atmosphere accompanied by significant increases in the ozone and water vapor abundances. The ozone radiative feedback occurs through both an increase in solar heating and a decrease in infrared cooling, with the latter accounting for up to 15% of the total effect. Changes in global mean water vapor cooling are negligible above ∼30 hPa. Near the polar summer mesopause, the temperature response is weak and not statistically significant. The main effects of SST changes are a warmer troposphere, a warmer and higher tropopause, cell-like structures of heating and cooling at low and middlelatitudes in the middle atmosphere, warming in the summer mesosphere, water vapor increase throughout the domain, and O3 decrease in the lower tropical stratosphere. No noticeable change in upward-propagating planetary wave activity in the extratropical winter–spring stratosphere and no significant temperature response in the polar winter–spring stratosphere have been detected. Increased upwelling in the tropical stratosphere has been found to be linked to changed wave driving at low latitudes.

Corresponding author address: V. I. Fomichev, Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada. Email: victor@nimbus.yorku.ca

Abstract

The Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM) has been used to examine the middle atmosphere response to CO2 doubling. The radiative-photochemical response induced by doubling CO2 alone and the response produced by changes in prescribed SSTs are found to be approximately additive, with the former effect dominating throughout the middle atmosphere. The paper discusses the overall response, with emphasis on the effects of SST changes, which allow a tropospheric response to the CO2 forcing. The overall response is a cooling of the middle atmosphere accompanied by significant increases in the ozone and water vapor abundances. The ozone radiative feedback occurs through both an increase in solar heating and a decrease in infrared cooling, with the latter accounting for up to 15% of the total effect. Changes in global mean water vapor cooling are negligible above ∼30 hPa. Near the polar summer mesopause, the temperature response is weak and not statistically significant. The main effects of SST changes are a warmer troposphere, a warmer and higher tropopause, cell-like structures of heating and cooling at low and middlelatitudes in the middle atmosphere, warming in the summer mesosphere, water vapor increase throughout the domain, and O3 decrease in the lower tropical stratosphere. No noticeable change in upward-propagating planetary wave activity in the extratropical winter–spring stratosphere and no significant temperature response in the polar winter–spring stratosphere have been detected. Increased upwelling in the tropical stratosphere has been found to be linked to changed wave driving at low latitudes.

Corresponding author address: V. I. Fomichev, Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada. Email: victor@nimbus.yorku.ca

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