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Chiara Cagnazzo and Elisa Manzini

Abstract

The possible role of stratospheric variability on the tropospheric teleconnection between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the North Atlantic and European (NAE) region is addressed by comparing results from two ensembles of simulations performed with an atmosphere general circulation model fully resolving the stratosphere (with the top at 0.01 hPa) and its low-top version (with the top at 10 hPa). Both ensembles of simulations consist of nine members, covering the 1980–99 period and are forced with prescribed observed sea surface temperatures. It is found that both models capture the sensitivity of the averaged polar winter lower stratosphere to ENSO in the Northern Hemisphere, although with a reduced amplitude for the low-top model. In late winter and spring, the ENSO response at the surface is instead different in the two models. A large-scale coherent pattern in sea level pressure, with high pressures over the Arctic and low pressures over western and central Europe and the North Pacific, is found in the February–March mean of the high-top model. In the low-top model, the Arctic high pressure and the western and central Europe low pressure are very much reduced. The high-top minus low-top model difference in the ENSO temperature and precipitation anomalies is that North Europe is colder and the Northern Atlantic storm track is shifted southward in the high-top model. In addition, it has been found that major sudden stratospheric warming events are virtually lacking in the low-top model, while their frequency of occurrence is broadly realistic in the high-top model. Given that this is a major difference in the dynamical behavior of the stratosphere of the two models and that these events are favored by ENSO, it is concluded that the occurrence of sudden stratospheric warming events affects the reported differences in the tropospheric ENSO–NAE teleconnection. Given that the essence of the high-top minus low-top model difference is a more annular (or zonal) pattern of the anomaly in sea level pressure, relatively larger over the Arctic and the NAE regions, this interpretation is consistent with the observational evidence that sudden stratospheric warmings play a role in giving rise to persistent Arctic Oscillation anomalies at the surface.

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Alexey Yu. Karpechko and Elisa Manzini

Abstract

The role of stationary planetary waves in the dynamical response of the Arctic winter stratosphere circulation to global warming is investigated here by analyzing simulations performed with atmosphere-only models from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) driven by prescribed sea surface temperatures (SSTs). Climate models often simulate dynamical warming of the Arctic stratosphere as a response to global warming in association with a strengthening of the deep branch of the Brewer–Dobson circulation; however, until now, no satisfactory mechanism for such a response has been suggested. This study focuses on December–February (DJF) because this is the period when the troposphere and stratosphere are strongly coupled. When forced by increased SSTs, all the models analyzed here simulate Arctic stratosphere dynamical warming, mostly due to increased upward propagation of quasi-stationary wavenumber 1, as diagnosed by the meridional eddy heat flux. Further, it is shown that the stratospheric warming and increased wave flux to the stratosphere are related to the strengthening of the zonal winds in subtropics and midlatitudes near the tropopause. Evidence presented in this paper corroborate climate model simulations of future stratospheric changes and suggest a dynamical warming of the Arctic polar vortex as the most likely response to global warming.

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Maddalen Iza, Natalia Calvo, and Elisa Manzini

Abstract

A Northern Hemisphere (NH) polar stratospheric pathway for La Niña events is established during wintertime based on reanalysis data for the 1958–2012 period. A robust polar stratospheric response is observed in the NH during strong La Niña events, characterized by a significantly stronger and cooler polar vortex. Significant wind anomalies reach the surface, and a robust impact on the North Atlantic–European (NAE) region is observed. A dynamical analysis reveals that the stronger polar stratospheric winds during La Niña winters are due to reduced upward planetary wave activity into the stratosphere. This finding is the result of destructive interference between the climatological and the anomalous La Niña tropospheric stationary eddies over the Pacific–North American region.

In addition, the lack of a robust stratospheric signature during La Niña winters reported in previous studies is investigated. It is found that this is related to the lower threshold used to detect the events, which signature is consequently more prone to be obscured by the influence of other sources of variability. In particular, the occurrence of stratospheric sudden warmings (SSWs), partly linked to the phase of the quasi-biennial oscillation, modulates the observed stratospheric signal. In the case of La Niña winters defined by a lower threshold, a robust stratospheric cooling is found only in the absence of SSWs. Therefore, these results highlight the importance of using a relatively restrictive threshold to define La Niña events in order to obtain a robust surface response in the NAE region through the stratosphere.

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Cristina Peña-Ortiz, Elisa Manzini, and Marco A. Giorgetta

Abstract

The impact of tropical deep convection on southern winter stationary waves and its modulation by the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) have been investigated in a long (210 year) climate model simulation and in ERA-Interim reanalysis data for the period 1979–2018. Model results reveal that tropical deep convection over the region of its climatological maximum modulates high-latitude stationary planetary waves in the southern winter hemisphere, corroborating the dominant role of tropical thermal forcing in the generation of these waves. In the tropics, deep convection enhancement leads to wavenumber-1 eddy anomalies that reinforce the climatological Rossby–Kelvin wave couplet. The Rossby wave propagates toward the extratropical southern winter hemisphere and upward through the winter stratosphere reinforcing wavenumber-1 climatological eddies. As a consequence, stronger tropical deep convection is related to greater upward wave propagation and, consequently, to a stronger Brewer–Dobson circulation and a warmer polar winter stratosphere. This linkage between tropical deep convection and the Southern Hemisphere (SH) winter polar vortex is also found in the ERA-Interim reanalysis. Furthermore, model results indicate that the enhancement of deep convection observed during the easterly phase of the QBO (E-QBO) gives rise to a similar modulation of the southern winter extratropical stratosphere, which suggests that the QBO modulation of convection plays a fundamental role in the transmission of the QBO signature to the southern stratosphere during the austral winter, revealing a new pathway for the QBO–SH polar vortex connection. ERA-Interim corroborates a QBO modulation of deep convection; however, the shorter data record does not allow us to assess its possible impact on the SH polar vortex.

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Enrico Scoccimarro, Silvio Gualdi, Alessio Bellucci, Antonella Sanna, Pier Giuseppe Fogli, Elisa Manzini, Marcello Vichi, Paolo Oddo, and Antonio Navarra

Abstract

In this paper the interplay between tropical cyclones (TCs) and the Northern Hemispheric ocean heat transport (OHT) is investigated. In particular, results from a numerical simulation of the twentieth-century and twenty-first-century climates, following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) twentieth-century run (20C3M) and A1B scenario protocols, respectively, have been analyzed. The numerical simulations have been performed using a state-of-the-art global atmosphere–ocean–sea ice coupled general circulation model (CGCM) with relatively high-resolution (T159) in the atmosphere. The CGCM skill in reproducing a realistic TC climatology has been assessed by comparing the model results from the simulation of the twentieth century with available observations. The model simulates tropical cyclone–like vortices with many features similar to the observed TCs. Specifically, the simulated TCs exhibit realistic structure, geographical distribution, and interannual variability, indicating that the model is able to capture the basic mechanisms linking the TC activity with the large-scale circulation. The cooling of the surface ocean observed in correspondence of the TCs is well simulated by the model. TC activity is shown to significantly increase the poleward OHT out of the tropics and decrease the poleward OHT from the deep tropics on short time scales. This effect, investigated by looking at the 100 most intense Northern Hemisphere TCs, is strongly correlated with the TC-induced momentum flux at the ocean surface, where the winds associated with the TCs significantly weaken (strengthen) the trade winds in the 5°–18°N (18°–30°N) latitude belt. However, the induced perturbation does not impact the yearly averaged OHT. The frequency and intensity of the TCs appear to be substantially stationary through the entire 1950–2069 simulated period, as does the effect of the TCs on the OHT.

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Andrew J. Charlton, Lorenzo M. Polvani, Judith Perlwitz, Fabrizio Sassi, Elisa Manzini, Kiyotaka Shibata, Steven Pawson, J. Eric Nielsen, and David Rind

Abstract

The simulation of major midwinter stratospheric sudden warmings (SSWs) in six stratosphere-resolving general circulation models (GCMs) is examined. The GCMs are compared to a new climatology of SSWs, based on the dynamical characteristics of the events. First, the number, type, and temporal distribution of SSW events are evaluated. Most of the models show a lower frequency of SSW events than the climatology, which has a mean frequency of 6.0 SSWs per decade. Statistical tests show that three of the six models produce significantly fewer SSWs than the climatology, between 1.0 and 2.6 SSWs per decade. Second, four process-based diagnostics are calculated for all of the SSW events in each model. It is found that SSWs in the GCMs compare favorably with dynamical benchmarks for SSW established in the first part of the study.

These results indicate that GCMs are capable of quite accurately simulating the dynamics required to produce SSWs, but with lower frequency than the climatology. Further dynamical diagnostics hint that, in at least one case, this is due to a lack of meridional heat flux in the lower stratosphere. Even though the SSWs simulated by most GCMs are dynamically realistic when compared to the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, the reasons for the relative paucity of SSWs in GCMs remains an important and open question.

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Marvin A. Geller, M. Joan Alexander, Peter T. Love, Julio Bacmeister, Manfred Ern, Albert Hertzog, Elisa Manzini, Peter Preusse, Kaoru Sato, Adam A. Scaife, and Tiehan Zhou

Abstract

For the first time, a formal comparison is made between gravity wave momentum fluxes in models and those derived from observations. Although gravity waves occur over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, the focus of this paper is on scales that are being parameterized in present climate models, sub-1000-km scales. Only observational methods that permit derivation of gravity wave momentum fluxes over large geographical areas are discussed, and these are from satellite temperature measurements, constant-density long-duration balloons, and high-vertical-resolution radiosonde data. The models discussed include two high-resolution models in which gravity waves are explicitly modeled, Kanto and the Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 (CAM5), and three climate models containing gravity wave parameterizations, MAECHAM5, Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model 3 (HadGEM3), and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) model. Measurements generally show similar flux magnitudes as in models, except that the fluxes derived from satellite measurements fall off more rapidly with height. This is likely due to limitations on the observable range of wavelengths, although other factors may contribute. When one accounts for this more rapid fall off, the geographical distribution of the fluxes from observations and models compare reasonably well, except for certain features that depend on the specification of the nonorographic gravity wave source functions in the climate models. For instance, both the observed fluxes and those in the high-resolution models are very small at summer high latitudes, but this is not the case for some of the climate models. This comparison between gravity wave fluxes from climate models, high-resolution models, and fluxes derived from observations indicates that such efforts offer a promising path toward improving specifications of gravity wave sources in climate models.

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