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Kylash Rajendran, Irene M. Moroz, Scott M. Osprey, and Peter L. Read

Abstract

The response of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) to an imposed mean upwelling with a periodic modulation is studied, by modeling the dynamics of the zero wind line at the equator using a class of equations known as descent rate models. These are simple mathematical models that capture the essence of QBO synchronization by focusing on the dynamics of the height of the zero wind line. A heuristic descent rate model for the zero wind line is described and is shown to capture many of the synchronization features seen in previous studies of the QBO. It is then demonstrated using a simple transformation that the standard Holton–Lindzen model of the QBO can itself be put into the form of a descent rate model if a quadratic velocity profile is assumed below the zero wind line. The resulting nonautonomous ordinary differential equation captures much of the synchronization behavior observed in the full Holton–Lindzen partial differential equation. The new class of models provides a novel framework within which to understand synchronization of the QBO, and we demonstrate a close relationship between these models and the circle map well known in the mathematics literature. Finally, we analyze reanalysis datasets to validate some of the predictions of our descent rate models and find statistically significant evidence for synchronization of the QBO that is consistent with model behavior.

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Yoshio Kawatani, Kevin Hamilton, Lesley J. Gray, Scott M. Osprey, Shingo Watanabe, and Yousuke Yamashita

Abstract

The impact of stratospheric representation is investigated using the Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate Atmospheric General Circulation Model (MIROC-AGCM) run with different model-lid heights and stratospheric vertical resolutions, but unchanged horizontal resolutions (~1.125°) and subgrid parameterizations. One-hundred-year integrations of the model were conducted using configurations with 34, 42, 72, and 168 vertical layers and model-lid heights of ~27 km (L34), 47 km (L42), 47 km (L72), and 100 km (L168). Analysis of the results focused on the Northern Hemisphere in winter. Compared with the L42 model, the L34 model produces a poorer simulation of the stratospheric Brewer–Dobson circulation (BDC) in the lower stratosphere, with weaker polar downwelling and accompanying cold-pole and westerly jet biases. The westerly bias extends into the troposphere and even to the surface. The tropospheric westerlies and zone of baroclinic wave activity shift northward; surface pressure has negative (positive) biases in the high (mid-) latitudes, with concomitant precipitation shifts. The L72 and L168 models generate a quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) while the L34 and 42 models do not. The L168 model includes the mesosphere, and thus resolves the upper branch of the BDC. The L72 model simulates stronger polar downwelling associated with the BDC than does the L42 model. However, experiments with prescribed nudging of the tropical stratospheric winds suggest differences in the QBO representation cannot account for L72 − L42 differences in the climatological polar night jet structure. The results show that the stratospheric vertical resolution and inclusion of the full middle atmosphere significantly affect tropospheric circulations.

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Scott M. Osprey, Lesley J. Gray, Steven C. Hardiman, Neal Butchart, and Tim J. Hinton

Abstract

An examination is made of stratospheric climate, circulation, and variability in configurations of the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model version 2 (HadGEM2) differing only in stratospheric resolution and the placement of the model lid. This is made in the context of historical reconstructions of twentieth-century climate. A reduction in the westerly bias in the Northern Hemisphere polar night jet is found in the high-top model. The authors also find significant differences in the expression of tropical stratospheric variability, finding improvements in the high-top model for the presence of the quasi-biennial oscillation, for tropical upwelling consistent with interim European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) data, and for interannual changes in stratospheric water vapor concentration comparable to satellite observations. Further differences are seen at high latitudes during winter in the frequency of occurrence of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs). The occurrence rate of SSWs in the high-top simulations, (7.2 ± 0.5) decade−1, is statistically consistent with observations, (6.0 ± 1.0) decade−1, whereas they are one-third as frequent in the low-top simulations, (2.5 ± 0.5) decade−1. Furthermore, the structure of the timing of winter final warmings is only captured in the high-top model. A similar characterization for the time evolution of the width of the tropical upper troposphere is found between model configurations. It is concluded that an adequate representation of the stratosphere is required to capture the important modes of tropical and extratropical stratospheric variability in models.

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Daniel M. Mitchell, Scott M. Osprey, Lesley J. Gray, Neal Butchart, Steven C. Hardiman, Andrew J. Charlton-Perez, and Peter Watson

Abstract

With extreme variability of the Arctic polar vortex being a key link for stratosphere–troposphere influences, its evolution into the twenty-first century is important for projections of changing surface climate in response to greenhouse gases. Variability of the stratospheric vortex is examined using a state-of-the-art climate model and a suite of specifically developed vortex diagnostics. The model has a fully coupled ocean and a fully resolved stratosphere. Analysis of the standard stratospheric zonal mean wind diagnostic shows no significant increase over the twenty-first century in the number of major sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) from its historical value of 0.7 events per decade, although the monthly distribution of SSWs does vary, with events becoming more evenly dispersed throughout the winter. However, further analyses using geometric-based vortex diagnostics show that the vortex mean state becomes weaker, and the vortex centroid is climatologically more equatorward by up to 2.5°, especially during early winter. The results using these diagnostics not only characterize the vortex structure and evolution but also emphasize the need for vortex-centric diagnostics over zonally averaged measures. Finally, vortex variability is subdivided into wave-1 (displaced) and -2 (split) components, and it is implied that vortex displacement events increase in frequency under climate change, whereas little change is observed in splitting events.

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Daniel M. Mitchell, Scott M. Osprey, Lesley J. Gray, Neal Butchart, Steven C. Hardiman, Andrew J. Charlton-Perez, and Peter Watson
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Christopher J. Smith, Julia A. Crook, Rolf Crook, Lawrence S. Jackson, Scott M. Osprey, and Piers M. Forster

Abstract

In recent years, the idea of geoengineering, artificially modifying the climate to reduce global temperatures, has received increasing attention because of the lack of progress in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Stratospheric sulfate injection (SSI) is a geoengineering method proposed to reduce planetary warming by reflecting a proportion of solar radiation back into space that would otherwise warm the surface and lower atmosphere. The authors analyze results from the Met Office Hadley Centre Global Environment Model, version 2, Carbon Cycle Stratosphere (HadGEM2-CCS) climate model with stratospheric emissions of 10 Tg yr−1 of SO2, designed to offset global temperature rise by around 1°C. A reduction in concentrating solar power output of 5.9% on average over land is shown under SSI relative to a baseline future climate change scenario (RCP4.5) caused by a decrease in direct radiation. Solar photovoltaic energy is generally less affected as it can use diffuse radiation, which increases under SSI, at the expense of direct radiation. The results from HadGEM2-CCS are compared with the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry–Climate Model (GEOSCCM) from the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP), with 5 Tg yr−1 emission of SO2. In many regions, the differences predicted in solar energy output between the SSI and RCP4.5 simulations are robust, as the sign of the changes for both HadGEM2-CCS and GEOSCCM agree. Furthermore, the sign of the total and direct annual mean radiation changes evaluated by HadGEM2-CCS agrees with the sign of the multimodel mean changes of an ensemble of GeoMIP models over the majority of the world.

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Scott M. Osprey, Lesley J. Gray, Steven C. Hardiman, Neal Butchart, Andrew C. Bushell, and Tim J. Hinton

Abstract

Stratospheric variability is examined in a vertically extended version of the Met Office global climate model. Equatorial variability includes the simulation of an internally generated quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and semiannual oscillation (SAO). Polar variability includes an examination of the frequency of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSW) and annular mode variability. Results from two different horizontal resolutions are also compared. Changes in gravity wave filtering at the higher resolution result in a slightly longer QBO that extends deeper into the lower stratosphere. At the higher resolution there is also a reduction in the occurrence rate of sudden stratospheric warmings, in better agreement with observations. This is linked with reduced levels of resolved waves entering the high-latitude stratosphere. Covariability of the tropical and extratropical stratosphere is seen, linking the phase of the QBO with disturbed NH winters, although this linkage is sporadic, in agreement with observations. Finally, tropospheric persistence time scales and seasonal variability for the northern and southern annular modes are significantly improved at the higher resolution, consistent with findings from other studies.

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