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Tiffany A. Shaw
,
Judith Perlwitz
, and
Nili Harnik

Abstract

The nature of downward wave coupling between the stratosphere and troposphere in both hemispheres is analyzed using the 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40) dataset. Downward wave coupling occurs when planetary waves reflected in the stratosphere impact the troposphere, and it is distinct from zonal-mean coupling, which results from wave dissipation and its subsequent impact on the zonal-mean flow. Cross-spectral correlation analysis and wave geometry diagnostics reveal that downward wave-1 coupling occurs in the presence of both a vertical reflecting surface in the mid-to-upper stratosphere and a high-latitude meridional waveguide in the lower stratosphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, downward wave coupling occurs from September to December, whereas in the Northern Hemisphere it occurs from January to March. A vertical reflecting surface is also present in the stratosphere during early winter in both hemispheres; however, it forms at the poleward edge of the meridional waveguide, which is not confined to high latitudes. The absence of a high-latitude waveguide allows meridional wave propagation into the subtropics and decreases the likelihood of downward wave coupling. The results highlight the importance of distinguishing between wave reflection in general, which requires a vertical reflecting surface, and downward wave coupling between the stratosphere and troposphere, which requires both a vertical reflecting surface and a high-latitude meridional waveguide.

The relative roles of downward wave and zonal-mean coupling in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres are subsequently compared. In the Southern Hemisphere, downward wave-1 coupling dominates, whereas in the Northern Hemisphere downward wave-1 coupling and zonal-mean coupling are found to be equally important from winter to early spring. The results suggest that an accurate representation of the seasonal cycle of the wave geometry is necessary for the proper representation of downward wave coupling between the stratosphere and troposphere.

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Isla R. Simpson
,
Tiffany A. Shaw
, and
Richard Seager

Abstract

Zonal-mean or basin-mean analyses often conclude that the midlatitude circulation will undergo a poleward shift with global warming. In this study, the models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project are used to provide a detailed examination of midlatitude circulation change as a function of longitude and season. The two-dimensional vertically integrated momentum budget is used to identify the dominant terms that maintain the anomalous surface wind stress, thereby allowing a distinction between features that are maintained by high-frequency eddies and those that involve changes in the lower-frequency or stationary flow.

In the zonal mean, in each season and hemisphere there is a poleward shifting of the midlatitude surface wind stress, primarily maintained by high-frequency transient eddies. This is not necessarily the case locally. In the Southern Hemisphere, for the most part, the interpretation of the response as being a high-frequency eddy-driven poleward shifting of the midlatitude westerlies holds true. The Northern Hemisphere is considerably more complex with only the fall months showing a robust poleward shift of both the Atlantic and Pacific jets. During the winter months the jet in the east Pacific actually shifts equatorward and the Atlantic jet strengthens over Europe. An important role for altered climatological stationary waves in these responses is found. This motivates future work that should focus on zonal asymmetries and stationary wave changes, as well as the changes in high-frequency transients that bring about the poleward shifting of the westerlies in the zonal mean.

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Yutian Wu
,
Richard Seager
,
Mingfang Ting
,
Naomi Naik
, and
Tiffany A. Shaw

Abstract

This study aims to understand the dynamical mechanisms driving the changes in the general circulation of the atmosphere due to increased carbon dioxide (CO2) by looking into the transient step-by-step adjustment of the circulation. The transient atmospheric adjustment is examined using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model, version 3, coupled to a slab ocean model, and the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is uniformly and instantaneously doubled. The thermal structure and circulation response is well established after one year of integration, with the magnitudes gradually increasing afterward toward quasi equilibrium. Tropical upper-tropospheric warming occurs in the first month. The expansion of the warming in the mid- and upper troposphere to the subtropics occurs later and is found to be primarily dynamically driven due to the intensification of transient eddy momentum flux convergence and resulting anomalous descending motion in this region. The poleward displacement of the midlatitude tropospheric jet streams occurs together with the change in eddy momentum flux convergence, but only after the intensification of the subpolar westerlies in the stratosphere. The results demonstrate the importance of the tropospheric eddies in setting up the extratropical tropospheric response to global warming.

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Yutian Wu
,
Richard Seager
,
Tiffany A. Shaw
,
Mingfang Ting
, and
Naomi Naik

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.

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Osamu Miyawaki
,
Tiffany A. Shaw
, and
Malte F. Jansen

Abstract

Energy balance and lapse rate regimes qualitatively characterize the low, middle, and high latitudes of Earth’s modern climate. Currently we do not have a complete quantitative understanding of the spatiotemporal structure of energy balance regimes [e.g., radiative convective equilibrium (RCE) and radiative advective equilibrium (RAE)] and their connection to lapse rate regimes (moist adiabat and surface inversion). Here we use the vertically integrated moist static energy budget to define a nondimensional number that quantifies where and when RCE and RAE are approximately satisfied in Earth’s modern climate. We find RCE exists year-round in the tropics and in the northern midlatitudes during summertime. RAE exists year-round over Antarctica and in the Arctic with the exception of early summer. We show that lapse rates in RCE and RAE are consistent with moist adiabatic and surface inversion lapse rates, respectively. We use idealized models (energy balance and aquaplanet) to test the following hypotheses: 1) RCE occurs during midlatitude summer for land-like (small heat capacity) surface conditions, and 2) sea ice is necessary for the existence of annual-mean RAE over a polar ocean, such as the Arctic. Consistent with point 1, an aquaplanet configured with a shallow mixed layer transitions to RCE in the midlatitudes during summertime whereas it does not for a deep mixed layer. Furthermore, we confirm point 2 using mechanism-denial aquaplanet experiments with and without thermodynamic sea ice. Finally, we show energy balance regimes of the modern climate provide a useful guide to the vertical structure of the warming response in the annual mean, and seasonally over the tropics and the southern high latitudes.

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Isla R. Simpson
,
Richard Seager
,
Tiffany A. Shaw
, and
Mingfang Ting

Abstract

In summer, the atmospheric circulation over the Mediterranean is characterized by localized intense subsidence and low-level northerlies over the central to eastern portion of the basin. Here, simulations with the Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 are used to investigate the influence of the elevated terrain of North Africa and the Middle East on this summertime circulation. This builds on previous work that recognized a role for North African topography in localizing the Mediterranean subsidence.

By flattening the two regions of elevated terrain in the model, it is demonstrated that, while they both conspire to produce about 30% of the summertime subsidence, contrary to previous work, the mountains of the Middle East dominate in this topographic contribution by far. This topography, consisting primarily of the Zagros mountain range, alters the circulation throughout the depth of the troposphere over the Mediterranean and farther east. The model results suggest that about 20% of the Mediterranean summertime moisture deficit can be attributed to this mountain-induced circulation. This topography, therefore, plays an important role in the climate of the Mediterranean and the large-scale circulation over the rest of Eurasia during the summer.

Further stationary wave modeling reveals that the mountain influence is produced via mechanical forcing of the flow. The greatest influence of the topography occurs when the low-level incident flow is easterly, as happens during the summer, primarily because of the presence of condensational heating over Asia. During other seasons, when the low-level incident flow is westerly, the influence of Middle East topography on the Mediterranean is negligible.

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Tiffany A. Shaw
,
Judith Perlwitz
,
Nili Harnik
,
Paul A. Newman
, and
Steven Pawson

Abstract

The impact of stratospheric ozone changes on downward wave coupling between the stratosphere and troposphere in the Southern Hemisphere is investigated using a suite of Goddard Earth Observing System chemistry–climate model (GEOS CCM) simulations. Downward wave coupling occurs when planetary waves reflected in the stratosphere impact the troposphere. In reanalysis data, the climatological coupling occurs from September to December when the stratospheric basic state has a well-defined high-latitude meridional waveguide in the lower stratosphere that is bounded above by a reflecting surface, called a bounded wave geometry. Reanalysis data suggests that downward wave coupling during November–December has increased during the last three decades.

The GEOS CCM simulation of the recent past captures the main features of downward wave coupling in the Southern Hemisphere. Consistent with the Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Application (MERRA) dataset, wave coupling in the model maximizes during October–November when there is a bounded wave geometry configuration. However, the wave coupling in the model is stronger than in the MERRA dataset, and starts earlier and ends later in the seasonal cycle. The late season bias is caused by a bias in the timing of the stratospheric polar vortex breakup.

Temporal changes in stratospheric ozone associated with past depletion and future recovery significantly impact downward wave coupling in the model. During the period of ozone depletion, the spring bounded wave geometry, which is favorable for downward wave coupling, extends into early summer, due to a delay in the vortex breakup date, and leads to increased downward wave coupling during November–December. During the period of ozone recovery, the stratospheric basic state during November–December shifts from a spring configuration back to a summer configuration, where waves are trapped in the troposphere, and leads to a decrease in downward wave coupling. Model simulations with chlorine fixed at 1960 values and increasing greenhouse gases show no significant changes in downward wave coupling and confirm that the changes in downward wave coupling in the model are caused by ozone changes. The results reveal a new mechanism wherein stratospheric ozone changes can affect the tropospheric circulation.

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Chaim I. Garfinkel
,
Tiffany A. Shaw
,
Dennis L. Hartmann
, and
Darryn W. Waugh

Abstract

Idealized experiments with the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) are used to explore the mechanism(s) whereby the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) modulates the Northern Hemisphere wintertime stratospheric polar vortex. Overall, the effect of the critical line emphasized in the Holton–Tan mechanism is less important than the effect of the mean meridional circulation associated with QBO winds for the polar response to the QBO. More specifically, the introduction of easterly winds at the equator near 50 hPa 1) causes enhanced synoptic-scale Eliassen–Palm flux (EPF) convergence in the subtropics from 150 to 50 hPa, which leads to the subtropical critical line moving poleward in the lower stratosphere, and 2) creates a barrier to planetary wave propagation from subpolar latitudes to midlatitudes in the middle and upper stratosphere (e.g., less equatorward EPF near 50°N), which leads to enhanced planetary wave convergence in the polar vortex region. These two effects are mechanistically distinct; while the former is related to the subtropical critical line, the latter is due to the mean meridional circulation of the QBO. All of these effects are consistent with linear theory, although the evolution of the entire wind distribution is only quasi-linear because induced zonal wind changes cause the wave driving to shift and thereby positively feed back on the zonal wind changes. Finally, downward propagation of the QBO in the equatorial stratosphere, upper stratospheric equatorial zonal wind, and changes in the tropospheric circulation appear to be less important than lower stratospheric easterlies for the polar stratospheric response. Overall, an easterly QBO wind anomaly in the lower stratosphere leads to a weakened stratospheric polar vortex, in agreement with previous studies, although not because of changes in the subtropical critical line.

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Tiffany A. Shaw
,
Michael Sigmond
,
Theodore G. Shepherd
, and
John F. Scinocca

Abstract

The Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model is used to examine the sensitivity of simulated climate to conservation of momentum in gravity wave drag parameterization. Momentum conservation requires that the parameterized gravity wave momentum flux at the top of the model be zero and corresponds to the physical boundary condition of no momentum flux at the top of the atmosphere. Allowing momentum flux to escape the model domain violates momentum conservation. Here the impact of momentum conservation in two sets of model simulations is investigated.

In the first set, the simulation of present-day climate for two model-lid height configurations, 0.001 and 10 hPa, which are identical below 10 hPa, is considered. The impact of momentum conservation on the climate with the model lid at 0.001 hPa is minimal, which is expected because of the small amount of gravity wave momentum flux reaching 0.001 hPa. When the lid is lowered to 10 hPa and momentum is conserved, there is only a modest impact on the climate in the Northern Hemisphere; however, the Southern Hemisphere climate is more adversely affected by the deflection of resolved waves near the model lid. When momentum is not conserved in the 10-hPa model the climate is further degraded in both hemispheres, particularly in winter at high latitudes, and the impact of momentum conservation extends all the way to the surface.

In the second set of simulations, the impact of momentum conservation and model-lid height on the modeled response to ozone depletion in the Southern Hemisphere is considered, and it is found that the response can display significant sensitivity to both factors. In particular, both the lower-stratospheric polar temperature and surface responses are significantly altered when the lid is lowered, with the effect being most severe when momentum is not conserved. The implications with regard to the current round of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections are discussed.

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Edwin P. Gerber
,
Amy Butler
,
Natalia Calvo
,
Andrew Charlton-Perez
,
Marco Giorgetta
,
Elisa Manzini
,
Judith Perlwitz
,
Lorenzo M. Polvani
,
Fabrizio Sassi
,
Adam A. Scaife
,
Tiffany A. Shaw
,
Seok-Woo Son
, and
Shingo Watanabe

Advances in weather and climate research have demonstrated the role of the stratosphere in the Earth system across a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. Stratospheric ozone loss has been identified as a key driver of Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation trends, affecting ocean currents and carbon uptake, sea ice, and possibly even the Antarctic ice sheets. Stratospheric variability has also been shown to affect short-term and seasonal forecasts, connecting the tropics and midlatitudes and guiding storm-track dynamics. The two-way interactions between the stratosphere and the Earth system have motivated the World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP) Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate's (SPARC) activity on Modelling the Dynamics and Variability of the Stratosphere-Troposphere System (DynVar) to investigate the impact of stratospheric dynamics and variability on climate. This assessment will be made possible by two new multimodel datasets. First, roughly 10 models with a well-resolved stratosphere are participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5), providing the first multimodel ensemble of climate simulations coupled from the stratopause to the sea floor. Second, the Stratosphere Resolving Historical Forecast Project (Strat-HFP) of WCRP's Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) program is forming a multimodel set of seasonal hind-casts with stratosphere-resolving models, revealing the impact of both stratospheric initial conditions and dynamics on intraseasonal prediction. The CMIP5 and Strat-HFP model datasets will offer an unprecedented opportunity to understand the role of the stratosphere in the natural and forced variability of the Earth system and to determine whether incorporating knowledge of the middle atmosphere improves seasonal forecasts and climate projections.

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