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Kane A. Stone
,
Susan Solomon
,
David W. J. Thompson
,
Douglas E. Kinnison
, and
John C. Fyfe

Abstract

As the leading mode of Pacific variability, El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) causes vast and widespread climatic impacts, including in the stratosphere. Following discovery of a stratospheric pathway of ENSO to the Northern Hemisphere surface, here we aim to investigate if there is a substantial Southern Hemisphere (SH) stratospheric pathway in relation to austral winter ENSO events. Large stratospheric anomalies connected to ENSO occur on average at high SH latitudes as early as August, peaking at around 10 hPa. An overall colder austral spring Antarctic stratosphere is generally associated with the warm phase of the ENSO cycle, and vice versa. This behavior is robust among reanalysis and six separate model ensembles encompassing two different model frameworks. A stratospheric pathway is identified by separating ENSO events that exhibit a stratospheric anomaly from those that do not and comparing to stratospheric extremes that occur during neutral ENSO years. The tropospheric eddy-driven jet response to the stratospheric ENSO pathway is the most robust in the spring following a La Niña, but extends into summer, and is more zonally symmetric compared to the tropospheric ENSO teleconnection. The magnitude of the stratospheric pathway is weaker compared to the tropospheric pathway and therefore, when it is present, has a secondary role. For context, the magnitude is approximately half that of the eddy-driven jet modulation due to austral spring ozone depletion in the model simulations. This work establishes that the stratospheric circulation acts as an intermediary in coupling ENSO variability to variations in the austral spring and summer tropospheric circulation.

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Nicole Albern
,
Aiko Voigt
,
David W. J. Thompson
, and
Joaquim G. Pinto

Abstract

Previous studies showed that global cloud-radiative changes contribute half or more to the midlatitude atmospheric circulation response to global warming. Here, we investigate the relative importance of tropical, midlatitude, and polar cloud-radiative changes for the annual-mean, wintertime, and summertime circulation response across regions in AMIP-like simulations. To this end, we study global warming simulations from the ICON model run with the cloud-locking method and prescribed sea surface temperatures, which isolate the impact of changes in atmospheric cloud-radiative heating. Tropical cloud changes dominate the global cloud impact on the 850 hPa zonal wind, jet strength, and storm track responses across most seasons and regions. For the jet shift, a more diverse picture is found. In the annual mean and DJF, tropical and midlatitude cloud changes contribute substantially to the poleward jet shift in all regions. The poleward jet shift is further supported by polar cloud changes across the Northern Hemisphere but not in the Southern Hemisphere. In JJA, the impact of regional cloud changes on the jet position is small, consistent with an overall small jet shift during this season. The jet shift can be largely understood via the anomalous atmospheric cloud-radiative heating in the tropical and midlatitude upper troposphere. The circulation changes are broadly consistent with the influence of cloud-radiative changes on upper-tropospheric baroclinicity and thus the mean potential energy available for conversion into eddy kinetic energy. Our results help to explain the jet response to global warming and highlight the importance of tropical and midlatitude cloud-radiative changes for this response.

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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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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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Alex Hall
,
Amy Clement
,
David W. J. Thompson
,
Anthony Broccoli
, and
Charles Jackson

Abstract

Milankovitch proposed that variations in the earth’s orbit cause climate variability through a local thermodynamic response to changes in insolation. This hypothesis is tested by examining variability in an atmospheric general circulation model coupled to an ocean mixed layer model subjected to the orbital forcing of the past 165 000 yr. During Northern Hemisphere summer, the model’s response conforms to Milankovitch’s hypothesis, with high (low) insolation generating warm (cold) temperatures throughout the hemisphere. However, during Northern Hemisphere winter, the climate variations stemming from orbital forcing cannot be solely understood as a local thermodynamic response to radiation anomalies. Instead, orbital forcing perturbs the atmospheric circulation in a pattern bearing a striking resemblance to the northern annular mode, the primary mode of simulated and observed unforced atmospheric variability. The hypothesized reason for this similarity is that the circulation response to orbital forcing reflects the same dynamics generating unforced variability. These circulation anomalies are in turn responsible for significant fluctuations in other climate variables: Most of the simulated orbital signatures in wintertime surface air temperature over midlatitude continents are directly traceable not to local radiative forcing, but to orbital excitation of the northern annular mode. This has paleoclimate implications: during the point of the model integration corresponding to the last interglacial (Eemian) period, the orbital excitation of this mode generates a 1°–2°C warm surface air temperature anomaly over Europe, providing an explanation for the warm anomaly of comparable magnitude implied by the paleoclimate proxy record. The results imply that interpretations of the paleoclimate record must account for changes in surface temperature driven not only by changes in insolation, but also by perturbations in atmospheric dynamics.

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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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David P. Rogers
,
Clive E. Dorman
,
Kathleen A. Edwards
,
Ian M. Brooks
,
W. Kendall Melville
,
Stephen D. Burk
,
William T. Thompson
,
Teddy Holt
,
Linda M. Ström
,
Michael Tjernström
,
Branko Grisogono
,
John M. Bane
,
Wendell A. Nuss
,
Bruce M. Morley
, and
Allen J. Schanot

Some of the highlights of an experiment designed to study coastal atmospheric phenomena along the California coast (Coastal Waves 1996 experiment) are described. This study was designed to address several problems, including the cross-shore variability and turbulent structure of the marine boundary layer, the influence of the coast on the development of the marine layer and clouds, the ageostrophy of the flow, the dynamics of trapped events, the parameterization of surface fluxes, and the supercriticality of the marine layer.

Based in Monterey, California, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) C-130 Hercules and the University of North Carolina Piper Seneca obtained a comprehensive set of measurements on the structure of the marine layer. The study focused on the effects of prominent topographic features on the wind. Downstream of capes and points, narrow bands of high winds are frequently encountered. The NCAR-designed Scanning Aerosol Backscatter Lidar (SABL) provided a unique opportunity to connect changes in the depth of the boundary layer with specific features in the dynamics of the flow field.

An integral part of the experiment was the use of numerical models as forecast and diagnostic tools. The Naval Research Laboratory's Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Model System (COAMPS) provided high-resolution forecasts of the wind field in the vicinity of capes and points, which aided the deployment of the aircraft. Subsequently, this model and the MIUU (University of Uppsala) numerical model were used to support the analysis of the field data.

These are some of the most comprehensive measurements of the topographically forced marine layer that have been collected. SABL proved to be an exceptionally useful tool to resolve the small-scale structure of the boundary layer and, combined with in situ turbulence measurements, provides new insight into the structure of the marine atmosphere. Measurements were made sufficiently far offshore to distinguish between the coastal and open ocean effects. COAMPS proved to be an excellent forecast tool and both it and the MIUU model are integral parts of the ongoing analysis. The results highlight the large spatial variability that occurs directly in response to topographic effects. Routine measurements are insufficient to resolve this variability. Numerical weather prediction model boundary conditions cannot properly define the forecast system and often underestimate the wind speed and surface wave conditions in the nearshore region.

This study was a collaborative effort between the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

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