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Catherine Wilka, Susan Solomon, Timothy W. Cronin, Doug Kinnison, and Rolando Garcia

Abstract

Matsuno–Gill circulations have been widely studied in tropical meteorology, but their impact on stratospheric chemistry has seldom been explicitly evaluated. This study demonstrates that, in a model nudged to reanalysis, anticyclonic Rossby wave gyres that form near the tropopause as a result of equatorially symmetric heating in the troposphere provide a dynamical mechanism to influence tropical and subtropical atmospheric chemistry during near-equinox months. The anticyclonic flow entrains extratropical air from higher latitudes into the deep tropics of both hemispheres and induces cooling in the already cold upper-troposphere/lower-stratosphere (UTLS) region. Both of these aspects of the circulation allow heterogeneous chlorine activation on sulfuric acid aerosols to proceed rapidly, primarily via the HCl + ClONO2 reaction. Precipitation rates and heating rates from reanalysis are shown to be consistent with these heating and circulation response patterns in the months of interest. This study analyzes specified dynamics simulations from the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (SD-WACCM) with and without tropical heterogeneous chemistry to demonstrate that these circulations influence substantially the distributions of, for example, NO2 and ClO in the UTLS tropics and subtropics of both hemispheres. This provides a previously unrecognized dynamical influence on the spatial structures of atmospheric composition changes in the UTLS during near-equinox months.

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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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