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Graham R. Simpkins
,
Laura M. Ciasto
,
David. W. J. Thompson
, and
Matthew H. England

Abstract

The observed relationships between anomalous Antarctic sea ice concentration (SIC) and the leading patterns of Southern Hemisphere (SH) large-scale climate variability are examined as a function of season over 1980–2008. Particular emphasis is placed on 1) the interactions between SIC, the southern annular mode (SAM), and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO); and 2) the contribution of these two leading modes to the 29-yr trends in sea ice. Regression, composite, and principal component analyses highlight a seasonality in SH sea ice–atmosphere interactions, whereby Antarctic sea ice variability exhibits the strongest linkages to the SAM and ENSO during the austral cold season months. As noted in previous work, a dipole in SIC anomalies emerges in relation to the SAM, characterized by centers of action located near the Bellingshausen/Weddell and Amundsen/eastern Ross Seas. The structure and magnitude of this SIC dipole is found to vary considerably as a function of season, consistent with the seasonality of the overlying atmospheric circulation anomalies. Relative to the SAM, the pattern of sea ice anomalies linked to ENSO exhibits a similar seasonality but tends to be weaker in amplitude and more diffuse in structure. The relationships between ENSO and sea ice also exhibit a substantial nonlinear component, highlighting the need to consider both season and phase of the ENSO cycle when diagnosing ENSO–SIC linkages. Trends in SIC over 1980–2008 are not significantly related to trends in either the SAM or ENSO during any season, including austral summer when the trend in the SAM is most pronounced.

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David W. J. Thompson
,
Elizabeth A. Barnes
,
Clara Deser
,
William E. Foust
, and
Adam S. Phillips

Abstract

Internal variability in the climate system gives rise to large uncertainty in projections of future climate. The uncertainty in future climate due to internal climate variability can be estimated from large ensembles of climate change simulations in which the experiment setup is the same from one ensemble member to the next but for small perturbations in the initial atmospheric state. However, large ensembles are invariably computationally expensive and susceptible to model bias.

Here the authors outline an alternative approach for assessing the role of internal variability in future climate based on a simple analytic model and the statistics of the unforced climate variability. The analytic model is derived from the standard error of the regression and assumes that the statistics of the internal variability are roughly Gaussian and stationary in time. When applied to the statistics of an unforced control simulation, the analytic model provides a remarkably robust estimate of the uncertainty in future climate indicated by a large ensemble of climate change simulations. To the extent that observations can be used to estimate the amplitude of internal climate variability, it is argued that the uncertainty in future climate trends due to internal variability can be robustly estimated from the statistics of the observed climate.

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Jingyuan Li
,
David W. J. Thompson
,
Elizabeth A. Barnes
, and
Susan Solomon

Abstract

This study introduces a simple analytic expression for calculating the lead time required for a linear trend to emerge in a Gaussian first-order autoregressive process. The expression is derived from the standard error of the regression and is tested using the NCAR Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble of climate change simulations. It is shown to provide a robust estimate of the point in time when the forced signal of climate change has emerged from the natural variability of the climate system with a predetermined level of statistical confidence. The expression provides a novel analytic tool for estimating the time of emergence of anthropogenic climate change and its associated regional climate impacts from either observed or modeled estimates of natural variability and trends.

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Ying Li
,
David W. J. Thompson
,
Sandrine Bony
, and
Timothy M. Merlis

Abstract

Extratropical eddy-driven jets are predicted to shift poleward in a warmer climate. Recent studies have suggested that cloud radiative effects (CRE) may enhance the amplitude of such shifts. But there is still considerable uncertainty about the underlying mechanisms, whereby CRE govern the jet response to climate change. This study provides new insights into the role of CRE in the jet response to climate change by exploiting the output from six global warming simulations run with and without atmospheric CRE (ACRE). Consistent with previous studies, it is found that the magnitude of the jet shift under climate change is substantially increased in simulations run with ACRE. It is hypothesized that ACRE enhance the jet response to climate change by increasing the upper-tropospheric baroclinicity due to the radiative effects of rising high clouds. The lifting of the tropopause and high clouds in response to surface warming arises from the thermodynamic constraints placed on water vapor concentrations. Hence, the influence of ACRE on the jet shift in climate change simulations may be viewed as an additional “robust” thermodynamic constraint placed on climate change by the Clausius–Clapeyron relation. The hypothesis is tested in simulations run with an idealized dry GCM, in which the model is perturbed with a thermal forcing that resembles the ACRE response to surface warming. It is demonstrated that 1) the enhanced jet shifts found in climate change simulations run with ACRE are consistent with the atmospheric response to the radiative warming associated with rising high clouds, and 2) the amplitude of the jet shift scales linearly with the amplitude of the ACRE forcing.

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Simchan Yook
,
David W. J. Thompson
,
Susan Solomon
, and
Seo-Yeon Kim

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to quantify the effects of coupled chemistry–climate interactions on the amplitude and structure of stratospheric temperature variability. To do so, the authors examine two simulations run on version 4 of the Whole Atmosphere Coupled Climate Model (WACCM): a “free-running” simulation that includes fully coupled chemistry–climate interactions and a “specified chemistry” version of the model forced with prescribed climatological-mean chemical composition. The results indicate that the inclusion of coupled chemistry–climate interactions increases the internal variability of temperature by a factor of ~2 in the lower tropical stratosphere and—to a lesser extent—in the Southern Hemisphere polar stratosphere. The increased temperature variability in the lower tropical stratosphere is associated with dynamically driven ozone–temperature feedbacks that are only included in the coupled chemistry simulation. The results highlight the fundamental role of two-way feedbacks between the atmospheric circulation and chemistry in driving climate variability in the lower stratosphere.

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Justin Bandoro
,
Susan Solomon
,
Aaron Donohoe
,
David W. J. Thompson
, and
Benjamin D. Santer

Abstract

Over the past three decades, Antarctic surface climate has undergone pronounced changes. Many of these changes have been linked to stratospheric ozone depletion. Here linkages between Antarctic ozone loss, the accompanying circulation changes, and summertime Southern Hemisphere (SH) midlatitude surface temperatures are explored. Long-term surface climate changes associated with ozone-driven changes in the southern annular mode (SAM) at SH midlatitudes in summer are not annular in appearance owing to differences in regional circulation and precipitation impacts. Both station and reanalysis data indicate a trend toward cooler summer temperatures over southeast and south-central Australia and inland areas of the southern tip of Africa. It is also found that since the onset of the ozone hole, there have been significant shifts in the distributions of both the seasonal mean and daily maximum summertime temperatures in the SH midlatitude regions between high and low ozone years. Unusually hot summer extremes are associated with anomalously high ozone in the previous November, including the recent very hot austral summer of 2012/13. If the relationship found in the past three decades continues to hold, the level of late springtime ozone over Antarctica has the potential to be part of a useful predictor set for the following summer’s conditions. The results herein suggest that skillful predictions may be feasible for both the mean seasonal temperature and the frequency of extreme hot events in some SH midlatitude regions of Australia, Africa, and South America.

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Timothy W. Juliano
,
Zachary J. Lebo
,
Gregory Thompson
, and
David A. Rahn

Abstract

The ability of global climate models to simulate accurately marine stratiform clouds continues to challenge the atmospheric science community. These cloud types, which account for a large uncertainty in Earth’s radiation budget, are generally difficult to characterize due to their shallowness and spatial inhomogeneity. Previous work investigating marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds off the California coast has focused on clouds that form under the typical northerly flow regime during the boreal warm season. From about June through September, however, these northerly winds may reverse and become southerly as part of a coastally trapped disturbance (CTD). As the flow surges northward, it is accompanied by a broad cloud deck. Because these events are difficult to forecast, in situ observations of CTDs are few and far between, and little is known about their cloud physical properties. A climatological perspective of 23 CTD events—spanning the years from 2004 to 2016—is presented using several data products, including model reanalyses, buoys, and satellites. For the first time, satellite retrievals suggest that CTD cloud decks may play a unique role in the radiation budget due to a combination of aerosol sources that enhance cloud droplet number concentration and reduce cloud droplet effective radius. This particular type of cloud regime should therefore be treated differently than that which is more commonly found in the summertime months over the northeast Pacific Ocean. The potential influence of a coherent wind stress cycle on sea surface temperatures and sea salt aerosol is also explored.

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Diane J. Ivy
,
Casey Hilgenbrink
,
Doug Kinnison
,
R. Alan Plumb
,
Aditi Sheshadri
,
Susan Solomon
, and
David W. J. Thompson

Abstract

Much research has focused on trends in the Southern Hemispheric circulation in austral summer (December–February) in the troposphere and stratosphere, whereas changes in other seasons have received less attention. Here the seasonality and structure of observed changes in tropospheric and stratospheric winds, temperature, and ozone over the Southern Hemisphere are examined. It is found that statistically significant trends similar to those of the Antarctic summer season are also observed since 1979 in austral fall, particularly May, and are strongest over the Pacific sector of the hemisphere. Evidence is provided for a significant shift in the position of the jet in May over the Pacific, and it is shown that the strengthening and shifting of the jet has rendered the latitudinal distribution of upper-tropospheric zonal wind more bimodal. The Antarctic ozone hole has cooled the lower stratosphere and strengthened the polar vortex. While the mechanism and timing are not fully understood, the ozone hole has been identified as a key driver of the summer season tropospheric circulation changes in several previous observational and modeling studies. It is found here that significant ozone depletion and associated polar cooling also occur in the lowermost stratosphere and tropopause region through austral fall, with spatial patterns that are coincident with the observed changes in stratospheric circulation. It is also shown that radiatively driven temperature changes associated with the observed ozone depletion in May represent a substantial portion of the observed May cooling in the lowermost stratosphere, suggesting a potential for contribution to the circulation changes.

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Timothy W. Juliano
,
Matthew M. Coggon
,
Gregory Thompson
,
David A. Rahn
,
John H. Seinfeld
,
Armin Sorooshian
, and
Zachary J. Lebo

Abstract

Modeling marine low clouds and fog in coastal environments remains an outstanding challenge due to the inherently complex ocean–land–atmosphere system. This is especially important in the context of global circulation models due to the profound radiative impact of these clouds. This study utilizes aircraft and satellite measurements, in addition to numerical simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model, to examine three well-observed coastally trapped disturbance (CTD) events from June 2006, July 2011, and July 2015. Cloud water-soluble ionic and elemental composition analyses conducted for two of the CTD cases indicate that anthropogenic aerosol sources may impact CTD cloud decks due to synoptic-scale patterns associated with CTD initiation. In general, the dynamics and thermodynamics of the CTD systems are well represented and are relatively insensitive to the choice of physics parameterizations; however, a set of WRF simulations suggests that the treatment of model physics strongly influences CTD cloud field evolution. Specifically, cloud liquid water path (LWP) is highly sensitive to the choice of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme; in many instances, the PBL scheme affects cloud extent and LWP values as much as or more than the microphysics scheme. Results suggest that differences in the treatment of entrainment and vertical mixing in the Yonsei University (nonlocal) and Mellor–Yamada–Janjić (local) PBL schemes may play a significant role. The impact of using different driving models—namely, the North American Mesoscale Forecast System (NAM) 12-km analysis and the NCEP North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) 32-km products—is also investigated.

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Yolande L. Serra
,
Jennifer S. Haase
,
David K. Adams
,
Qiang Fu
,
Thomas P. Ackerman
,
M. Joan Alexander
,
Avelino Arellano
,
Larissa Back
,
Shu-Hua Chen
,
Kerry Emanuel
,
Zeljka Fuchs
,
Zhiming Kuang
,
Benjamin R Lintner
,
Brian Mapes
,
David Neelin
,
David Raymond
,
Adam H. Sobel
,
Paul W. Staten
,
Aneesh Subramanian
,
David W. J. Thompson
,
Gabriel Vecchi
,
Robert Wood
, and
Paquita Zuidema
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