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Atmospheric Circulation Response to an Instantaneous Doubling of Carbon Dioxide. Part II: Atmospheric Transient Adjustment and Its Dynamics

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  • 1 Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, New York
  • 2 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
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Abstract

The dynamical mechanisms underlying the transient circulation adjustment in the extratropical atmosphere after the instantaneous doubling of carbon dioxide are investigated using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model version 3 coupled to a Slab Ocean Model. It is shown that the transient process during the first few months of integration is important in setting up the extratropical circulation response in equilibrium such as the poleward shift of the tropospheric jet streams. Three phases are found during the transient thermal/dynamical adjustment in the Northern Hemisphere: 1) a radiatively driven easterly anomaly in the subpolar stratosphere, 2) an acceleration of the westerly anomaly in the subpolar stratosphere as a result of anomalous planetary-scale eddy momentum flux convergence, and 3) a “downward migration” of the westerly anomaly from the lower stratosphere to the troposphere, followed by the tropospheric jet shift. Several proposed mechanisms for inducing the poleward shift of the tropospheric jet streams are examined. No significant increase in eddy phase speed is found. The rise in tropopause height appears to lead the tropospheric jet shift but no close relation is observed. The length scale of transient eddies does increase but does not lead the tropospheric jet shift. Finally, the tropospheric jet shift can be captured by changes in the index of refraction and the resulting anomalous eddy propagation in the troposphere.

Corresponding author address: Yutian Wu, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, NY 10012. E-mail: yutian@cims.nyu.edu

Abstract

The dynamical mechanisms underlying the transient circulation adjustment in the extratropical atmosphere after the instantaneous doubling of carbon dioxide are investigated using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model version 3 coupled to a Slab Ocean Model. It is shown that the transient process during the first few months of integration is important in setting up the extratropical circulation response in equilibrium such as the poleward shift of the tropospheric jet streams. Three phases are found during the transient thermal/dynamical adjustment in the Northern Hemisphere: 1) a radiatively driven easterly anomaly in the subpolar stratosphere, 2) an acceleration of the westerly anomaly in the subpolar stratosphere as a result of anomalous planetary-scale eddy momentum flux convergence, and 3) a “downward migration” of the westerly anomaly from the lower stratosphere to the troposphere, followed by the tropospheric jet shift. Several proposed mechanisms for inducing the poleward shift of the tropospheric jet streams are examined. No significant increase in eddy phase speed is found. The rise in tropopause height appears to lead the tropospheric jet shift but no close relation is observed. The length scale of transient eddies does increase but does not lead the tropospheric jet shift. Finally, the tropospheric jet shift can be captured by changes in the index of refraction and the resulting anomalous eddy propagation in the troposphere.

Corresponding author address: Yutian Wu, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, NY 10012. E-mail: yutian@cims.nyu.edu
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