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Lorenzo M. Polvani, Darryn W. Waugh, Gustavo J. P. Correa, and Seok-Woo Son

Abstract

The importance of stratospheric ozone depletion on the atmospheric circulation of the troposphere is studied with an atmospheric general circulation model, the Community Atmospheric Model, version 3 (CAM3), for the second half of the twentieth century. In particular, the relative importance of ozone depletion is contrasted with that of increased greenhouse gases and accompanying sea surface temperature changes. By specifying ozone and greenhouse gas forcings independently, and performing long, time-slice integrations, it is shown that the impacts of ozone depletion are roughly 2–3 times larger than those associated with increased greenhouse gases, for the Southern Hemisphere tropospheric summer circulation. The formation of the ozone hole is shown to affect not only the polar tropopause and the latitudinal position of the midlatitude jet; it extends to the entire hemisphere, resulting in a broadening of the Hadley cell and a poleward extension of the subtropical dry zones. The CAM3 results are compared to and found to be in excellent agreement with those of the multimodel means of the recent Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) and Chemistry–Climate Model Validation (CCMVal2) simulations. This study, therefore, strongly suggests that most Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation changes, in austral summer over the second half of the twentieth century, have been caused by polar stratospheric ozone depletion.

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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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Luke Oman, Darryn W. Waugh, Steven Pawson, Richard S. Stolarski, and J. Eric Nielsen

Abstract

Past and future climate simulations from the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry–Climate Model (GEOS CCM), with specified boundary conditions for sea surface temperature, sea ice, and trace gas emissions, have been analyzed to assess trends and possible causes of changes in stratospheric water vapor. The simulated distribution of stratospheric water vapor in the 1990s compares well with observations. Changes in the cold point temperatures near the tropical tropopause can explain differences in entry stratospheric water vapor. The average saturation mixing ratio of a 20° latitude by 15° longitude region surrounding the minimum tropical saturation mixing ratio is shown to be a useful diagnostic for entry stratospheric water vapor and does an excellent job reconstructing the annual average entry stratospheric water vapor over the period 1950–2100. The simulated stratospheric water vapor increases over the 50 yr between 1950 and 2000, primarily because of changes in methane concentrations, offset by a slight decrease in tropical cold point temperatures. Stratospheric water vapor is predicted to continue to increase over the twenty-first century, with increasing methane concentrations causing the majority of the trend to midcentury. Small increases in cold point temperature cause increases in the entry water vapor throughout the twenty-first century. The increasing trend in future water vapor is tempered by a decreasing contribution of methane oxidation owing to cooling stratospheric temperatures and by increased tropical upwelling, leading to a near-zero trend for the last 30 yr of the twenty-first century.

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Anna A. Scott, Ben Zaitchik, Darryn W. Waugh, and Katie O’Meara

Abstract

How much does minimum daily air temperature vary within neighborhoods exhibiting high land surface temperature (LST), and does this variability affect agreement with the nearest weather station? To answer these questions, a low-cost sensor network of 135 “iButton” thermometers was deployed for summer 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland (a midsized American city with a temperate climate), focusing on an underserved area that exhibits high LST from satellite imagery. The sensors were evaluated against commercial and NOAA/NWS stations and showed good agreement for daily minimum temperatures. Variability within the study site was small: mean minimum daily temperatures have a spatial standard deviation of 0.9°C, much smaller than the same measure for satellite-derived LST. The sensor-measured temperatures agree well with the NWS weather station in downtown Baltimore, with a mean difference for all measurements in time and space of 0.00°C; this agreement with the station is not found to be correlated with any meteorological variables with the exception of radiation. Surface properties are found to be important in determining spatial variability: vegetated or green spaces are observed to be 0.5°C cooler than areas dominated by impervious surfaces, and the presence of green space is found to be a more significant predictor of temperature than surface properties such as elevation. Other surface properties—albedo, tree-canopy cover, and distance to the nearest park—are not found to correlate significantly with air temperatures.

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Timothy M. Hall, Thomas W. N. Haine, Darryn W. Waugh, Mark Holzer, Francesca Terenzi, and Deborah A. LeBel

Abstract

The intimate relationship among ventilation, transit-time distributions, and transient tracer budgets is analyzed. To characterize the advective–diffusive transport from the mixed layer to the interior ocean in terms of flux we employ a cumulative ventilation-rate distribution, Φ(τ), defined as the one-way mass flux of water that resides at least time τ in the interior before returning. A one-way (or gross) flux contrasts with the net advective flux, often called the subduction rate, which does not accommodate the effects of mixing, and it contrasts with the formation rate, which depends only on the net effects of advection and diffusive mixing. As τ decreases Φ(τ) increases, encompassing progressively more one-way flux. In general, Φ is a rapidly varying function of τ (it diverges at small τ), and there is no single residence time at which Φ can be evaluated to fully summarize the advective–diffusive flux. To reconcile discrepancies between estimates of formation rates in a recent GCM study, Φ(τ) is used. Then chlorofluorocarbon data are used to bound Φ(τ) for Subtropical Mode Water and Labrador Sea Water in the North Atlantic Ocean. The authors show that the neglect of diffusive mixing leads to spurious behavior, such as apparent time dependence in the formation, even when transport is steady.

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Clara Orbe, Paul A. Newman, Darryn W. Waugh, Mark Holzer, Luke D. Oman, Feng Li, and Lorenzo M. Polvani

Abstract

The first climatology of airmass origin in the Arctic is presented in terms of rigorously defined airmass fractions that partition air according to where it last contacted the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Results from a present-day climate integration of the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry–Climate Model (GEOSCCM) reveal that the majority of air in the Arctic below 700 mb last contacted the PBL poleward of 60°N. By comparison, 62% (±0.8%) of the air above 700 mb originates over Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes (i.e., “midlatitude air”). Seasonal variations in the airmass fractions above 700 mb reveal that during boreal winter air from midlatitudes originates primarily over the oceans, with 26% (±1.9%) last contacting the PBL over the eastern Pacific, 21% (±0.87%) over the Atlantic, and 16% (±1.2%) over the western Pacific. During summer, by comparison, midlatitude air originates primarily over land, overwhelmingly so over Asia [41% (±1.0%)] and, to a lesser extent, over North America [24% (±1.5%)]. Seasonal variations in the airmass fractions are interpreted in terms of changes in the large-scale ventilation of the midlatitude boundary layer and the midlatitude tropospheric jet.

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Chaim I. Garfinkel, Luke D. Oman, Elizabeth A. Barnes, Darryn W. Waugh, Margaret H. Hurwitz, and Andrea M. Molod

Abstract

A robust connection between the drag on surface-layer winds and the stratospheric circulation is demonstrated in NASA's Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry–Climate Model (GEOSCCM). Specifically, an updated parameterization of roughness at the air–sea interface, in which surface roughness is increased for moderate wind speeds (4–20 m s−1), leads to a decrease in model biases in Southern Hemispheric ozone, polar cap temperature, stationary wave heat flux, and springtime vortex breakup. A dynamical mechanism is proposed whereby increased surface roughness leads to improved stationary waves. Increased surface roughness leads to anomalous eddy momentum flux convergence primarily in the Indian Ocean sector (where eddies are strongest climatologically) in September and October. The localization of the eddy momentum flux convergence anomaly in the Indian Ocean sector leads to a zonally asymmetric reduction in zonal wind and, by geostrophy, to a wavenumber-1 stationary wave pattern. This tropospheric stationary wave pattern leads to enhanced upward wave activity entering the stratosphere. The net effect is an improved Southern Hemisphere vortex: the vortex breaks up earlier in spring (i.e., the spring late-breakup bias is partially ameliorated) yet is no weaker in midwinter. More than half of the stratospheric biases appear to be related to the surface wind speed biases. As many other chemistry–climate models use a similar scheme for their surface-layer momentum exchange and have similar biases in the stratosphere, the authors expect that results from GEOSCCM may be relevant for other climate models.

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Ju-Mee Ryoo, Yohai Kaspi, Darryn W. Waugh, George N. Kiladis, Duane E. Waliser, Eric J. Fetzer, and Jinwon Kim

Abstract

This study demonstrates that water vapor transport and precipitation are largely modulated by the intensity of the subtropical jet, transient eddies, and the location of wave breaking events during the different phases of ENSO. Clear differences are found in the potential vorticity (PV), meteorological fields, and trajectory pathways between the two different phases. Rossby wave breaking events have cyclonic and anticyclonic regimes, with associated differences in the frequency of occurrence and the dynamic response. During La Niña, there is a relatively weak subtropical jet allowing PV to intrude into lower latitudes over the western United States. This induces a large amount of moisture transport inland ahead of the PV intrusions, as well as northward transport to the west of a surface anticyclone. During El Niño, the subtropical jet is relatively strong and is associated with an enhanced cyclonic wave breaking. This is accompanied by a time-mean surface cyclone, which brings zonal moisture transport to the western United States. In both (El Niño and La Niña) phases, there is a high correlation (>0.3–0.7) between upper-level PV at 250 hPa and precipitation over the west coast of the United States with a time lag of 0–1 days. Vertically integrated water vapor fluxes during El Niño are up to 70 kg m−1 s−1 larger than those during La Niña along the west coast of the United States. The zonal and meridional moist static energy flux resembles wave vapor transport patterns, suggesting that they are closely controlled by the large-scale flows and location of wave breaking events during the different phase of ENSO.

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Clara Orbe, Paul A. Newman, Darryn W. Waugh, Mark Holzer, Luke D. Oman, Feng Li, and Lorenzo M. Polvani

Abstract

Future changes in transport from Northern Hemisphere (NH) midlatitudes into the Arctic are examined using rigorously defined air-mass fractions that partition air in the Arctic according to where it last had contact with the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Boreal winter (December–February) and summer (June–August) air-mass fraction climatologies are calculated for the modeled climate of the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry–Climate Model (GEOSCCM) forced with the end-of-twenty-first century greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances. The modeled projections indicate that the fraction of air in the Arctic that last contacted the PBL over NH midlatitudes (or air of “midlatitude origin”) will increase by about 10% in both winter and summer. The projected increases during winter are largest in the upper and middle Arctic troposphere, where they reflect an upward and poleward shift in the transient eddy meridional wind, a robust dynamical response among comprehensive climate models. The boreal winter response is dominated by (~5%–10%) increases in the air-mass fractions originating over the eastern Pacific and the Atlantic, while the response in boreal summer mainly reflects (~5%) increases in air of Asian and North American origin. The results herein suggest that future changes in transport from midlatitudes may impact the composition—and, hence, radiative budget—in the Arctic, independent of changes in emissions.

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William J. M. Seviour, Darryn W. Waugh, Lorenzo M. Polvani, Gustavo J. P. Correa, and Chaim I. Garfinkel

Abstract

Recent studies have shown large intermodel differences in the magnitude of the simulated response of the Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation to ozone depletion. This inconsistency may be a result of different model dynamics, different ozone forcing, or statistical uncertainty. Here the summertime tropospheric response to ozone depletion is analyzed in an array of climate model simulations with incrementally increasing complexity. This allows the sensitivity of the response to a range of factors to be carefully tested, including the choice of model, the prescribed sea surface temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations, the inclusion of a coupled ocean, the temporal resolution of the prescribed ozone concentrations, and the inclusion of interactive chemistry. A consistent poleward shift of the extratropical jet is found in all simulations. All simulations also show a strengthening of the extratropical jet and a widening of the southern edge of the Hadley cell, but the magnitude of these responses is much less consistent. However, in all simulations statistical uncertainty due to interannual variability is found to be large relative to the size of the response, despite considering long (100 yr) annually repeating simulations. It is therefore proposed that interannual variability is a dominant cause of intermodel differences in past studies, which have generally analyzed shorter, transient simulations.

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