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Energetics Responses to Increases in Greenhouse Gas Concentration

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  • 1 International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modelling, and Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • | 2 Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
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Abstract

Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations warm the troposphere. However, it is not clear whether this implies changes in the energetics. To study the energetics responses to CO2 increases, changes in the Lorenz energy cycle (LEC) are evaluated using output from the atmosphere–ocean ECHAM5/Max Planck Institute Ocean Model (MPI-OM). Equilibrium 2 × CO2 experiments and 10-yr transient experiments with 3% increase per year are analyzed.

Globally, doubling of CO2 results in a decrease in the LEC strength—defined as the total conversion of available potential energy P into kinetic energy K—but also in an increase in the zonal-mean K. These global changes are a consequence of the strengthening of the LEC in the upper troposphere and the weakening of the cycle below. The two opposite responses result from the simulated warming pattern that shows the strongest warming in the upper tropical troposphere and in the lower troposphere at high latitudes. This warming structure causes changes in the horizontal temperature variance and in mean static stability, which increase zonal-mean P in the upper troposphere and decrease it below, triggering the two opposite responses via changes in baroclinic activity. In general, the lower-region weakening is stronger in the Northern Hemisphere, while the upper-region strengthening, and the increase of zonal-mean P and K, is stronger in the Southern Hemisphere. The former is more pronounced in the transient experiments but decreases in the stabilized 2 × CO2 climate.

Corresponding author address: Daniel Hernández-Deckers, Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology, Bundestr. 53, Hamburg 20146, Germany. Email: daniel.hernandez@zmaw.de

Abstract

Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations warm the troposphere. However, it is not clear whether this implies changes in the energetics. To study the energetics responses to CO2 increases, changes in the Lorenz energy cycle (LEC) are evaluated using output from the atmosphere–ocean ECHAM5/Max Planck Institute Ocean Model (MPI-OM). Equilibrium 2 × CO2 experiments and 10-yr transient experiments with 3% increase per year are analyzed.

Globally, doubling of CO2 results in a decrease in the LEC strength—defined as the total conversion of available potential energy P into kinetic energy K—but also in an increase in the zonal-mean K. These global changes are a consequence of the strengthening of the LEC in the upper troposphere and the weakening of the cycle below. The two opposite responses result from the simulated warming pattern that shows the strongest warming in the upper tropical troposphere and in the lower troposphere at high latitudes. This warming structure causes changes in the horizontal temperature variance and in mean static stability, which increase zonal-mean P in the upper troposphere and decrease it below, triggering the two opposite responses via changes in baroclinic activity. In general, the lower-region weakening is stronger in the Northern Hemisphere, while the upper-region strengthening, and the increase of zonal-mean P and K, is stronger in the Southern Hemisphere. The former is more pronounced in the transient experiments but decreases in the stabilized 2 × CO2 climate.

Corresponding author address: Daniel Hernández-Deckers, Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology, Bundestr. 53, Hamburg 20146, Germany. Email: daniel.hernandez@zmaw.de

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