• Cash, B. A., P. J. Kushner, and G. K. Vallis, 2002: The structure and composition of the annular modes in an aquaplanet general circulation model. J. Atmos. Sci., 59, 33993414.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dopplick, T. G., 1972: Radiative heating of the global atmosphere. J. Atmos. Sci., 29, 12781294.

  • Frierson, D. M. W., 2007: The dynamics of idealized convection schemes and their effect on the zonally averaged tropical circulation. J. Atmos. Sci., 64, 19591976.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frierson, D. M. W., I. M. Held, and P. Zurita-Gotor, 2006: A gray-radiation aquaplanet moist GCM. Part I: Static stability and eddy scale. J. Atmos. Sci., 63, 25482566.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fyfe, J. C., G. J. Boer, and G. M. Flato, 1999: The Arctic and Antarctic oscillations and their projected changes under global warming. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 16011604.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Garner, S. T., D. M. W. Frierson, I. M. Held, O. Pauluis, and G. K. Vallis, 2007: Resolving convection in a global hypohydrostatic model. J. Atmos. Sci., 64, 20612075.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hartmann, D. L., and K. Larson, 2002: An important constraint on tropical cloud-climate feedback. Geophys. Res. Lett., 29, 1951, doi:10.1029/2002GL015835.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hartmann, D. L., J. R. Holton, and Q. Fu, 2001: The heat balance of the tropical tropopause, cirrus, and stratospheric dehydration. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 19691972.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Held, I. M., and B. J. Soden, 2006: Robust responses of the hydrological cycle to global warming. J. Climate, 19, 56865699.

  • Ingram, W., 2010: A very simple model for the water vapour feedback on climate change. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 136, 3040.

  • Knutson, T. R., and S. Manabe, 1995: Time-mean response over the tropical Pacific to increased CO2 in a coupled ocean–atmosphere model. J. Climate, 8, 21812199.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kuang, Z., and D. L. Hartmann, 2007: Testing the fixed anvil temperature hypothesis in a cloud-resolving model. J. Climate, 20, 20512057.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kushner, P. J., I. M. Held, and T. L. Delworth, 2001: Southern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation response to global warming. J. Climate, 14, 22382249.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lorenz, D. J., and E. T. DeWeaver, 2007: Tropopause height and zonal wind response to global warming in the IPCC scenario integrations. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D10119, doi:10.1029/2006JD008087.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Merlis, T. M., and T. Schneider, 2011: Changes in zonal surface temperature gradients and Walker circulations in a wide range of climates. J. Climate, 24, 47574768.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mitchell, J., and W. Ingram, 1992: Carbon dioxide and climate: Mechanisms of changes in cloud. J. Climate, 5, 521.

  • Muller, C. J., P. A. O’Gorman, and L. E. Back, 2011: Intensification of precipitation extremes with warming in a cloud-resolving model. J. Climate, 24, 27842800.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nakićenović, N., and R. Swart, Eds., 2000: Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. Cambridge University Press, 599 pp.

  • O’Gorman, P. A., and T. Schneider, 2008: The hydrological cycle over a wide range of climates simulated with an idealized GCM. J. Climate, 21, 38153832.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • O’Gorman, P. A., R. P. Allan, M. P. Byrne, and M. Previdi, 2012: Energetic constraints on precipitation under climate change. Surv. Geophys., 33, 585608.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schneider, T., P. A. O’Gorman, and X. J. Levine, 2010: Water vapor and the dynamics of climate changes. Rev. Geophys., 48, RG3001, doi:10.1029/2009RG000302.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sherwood, S. C., W. Ingram, Y. Tsushima, M. Satoh, M. Roberts, P. L. Vidale, and P. A. O’Gorman, 2010: Relative humidity changes in a warmer climate. J. Geophys. Res., 115, D09104, doi:10.1029/2009JD012585.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Son, S.-W., and Coauthors, 2008: The impact of stratospheric ozone recovery on the Southern Hemisphere westerly jet. Science, 320, 14861489.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, K., 2001: Summarizing multiple aspects of model performance in a single diagram. J. Geophys. Res., 106 (D7), 71837192.

  • Tompkins, A. M., and G. C. Craig, 1999: Sensitivity of tropical convection to sea surface temperature in the absence of large-scale flow. J. Climate, 12, 462476.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vecchi, G. A., and B. J. Soden, 2007: Global warming and the weakening of the tropical circulation. J. Climate, 20, 43164340.

  • Yin, J. H., 2005: A consistent poleward shift of the storm tracks in simulations of 21st century climate. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L18701, doi:10.1029/2005GL023684.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zelinka, M. D., and D. L. Hartmann, 2010: Why is longwave cloud feedback positive? J. Geophys. Res., 115, D16117, doi:10.1029/2010JD013817.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 15 15 15
PDF Downloads 9 9 9

Upward Shift of the Atmospheric General Circulation under Global Warming: Theory and Simulations

View More View Less
  • 1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Restricted access

Abstract

Many features of the general circulation of the atmosphere shift upward in response to warming in simulations of climate change with both general circulation models (GCMs) and cloud-system-resolving models. The importance of the upward shift is well known, but its physical basis and the extent to which it occurs coherently across variables are not well understood. A transformation is derived here that shows how an upward shift of a solution to the moist primitive equations gives a new approximate solution with higher tropospheric temperatures. According to the transformation, all variables shift upward with warming but with an additional modification to the temperature and a general weakening of the pressure velocity. The applicability of the vertical-shift transformation is explored using a hierarchy of models from adiabatic parcel ascents to comprehensive GCMs. The transformation is found to capture many features of the response to climate change in simulations with an idealized GCM, including the mid- and upper-tropospheric changes in lapse rate, relative humidity, and meridional wind. The transformation is less accurate when applied to simulations with more realistic GCMs, but it nonetheless captures some important features. Deviations from the simulated response are primarily due to the surface boundary conditions, which do not necessarily conform to the transformation, especially in the case of the zonal winds. The results allow for a physical interpretation of the upward shift in terms of the governing equations and suggest that it may be thought of as a coherent response of the general circulation of the mid- and upper troposphere.

Corresponding author address: Martin S. Singh, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Bldg. 54-1715, Cambridge, MA 02139. E-mail: mssingh@mit.edu

Abstract

Many features of the general circulation of the atmosphere shift upward in response to warming in simulations of climate change with both general circulation models (GCMs) and cloud-system-resolving models. The importance of the upward shift is well known, but its physical basis and the extent to which it occurs coherently across variables are not well understood. A transformation is derived here that shows how an upward shift of a solution to the moist primitive equations gives a new approximate solution with higher tropospheric temperatures. According to the transformation, all variables shift upward with warming but with an additional modification to the temperature and a general weakening of the pressure velocity. The applicability of the vertical-shift transformation is explored using a hierarchy of models from adiabatic parcel ascents to comprehensive GCMs. The transformation is found to capture many features of the response to climate change in simulations with an idealized GCM, including the mid- and upper-tropospheric changes in lapse rate, relative humidity, and meridional wind. The transformation is less accurate when applied to simulations with more realistic GCMs, but it nonetheless captures some important features. Deviations from the simulated response are primarily due to the surface boundary conditions, which do not necessarily conform to the transformation, especially in the case of the zonal winds. The results allow for a physical interpretation of the upward shift in terms of the governing equations and suggest that it may be thought of as a coherent response of the general circulation of the mid- and upper troposphere.

Corresponding author address: Martin S. Singh, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Bldg. 54-1715, Cambridge, MA 02139. E-mail: mssingh@mit.edu
Save