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Apostolos Voulgarakis and Drew T. Shindell

Abstract

A novel method is presented for calculating how sensitive regional climate is to radiative forcings, based on global surface temperature observations. Forcings that originate in both the region of interest and outside of it are taken into account. It is found that the transient temperature sensitivity parameter (β, defined as the observed temperature response per unit forcing) can be better constrained for 50°S–25°N than for the rest of the globe. The average β in this region is 0.35°C (W m−2)−1. The models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) 1% yr−1 CO2 increase experiment exhibit a β in this region that, on average, is higher by 35%. The results show that for 50°S–25°N β may provide a more valuable constraint for model evaluation than global mean climate sensitivity.

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Drew T. Shindell, David Rind, and Patrick Lonergan

Abstract

Parameterized stratospheric ozone photochemistry has been included in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) GCM to investigate the coupling between chemistry and climate change for the doubled CO2 climate. The chemical ozone response is of opposite sign to temperature changes, so that radiative cooling in the upper stratosphere results in increased ozone, while warming reduces ozone in the lower stratosphere. The increased overhead column reduces the amount of UV reaching the lower stratosphere, resulting in further ozone decreases there. Changes of up to 15% are seen, including both photochemistry and transport. Good agreement is found between the authors’ results and those in other models for tropical latitudes where the stratospheric temperature responses are similar. However, in the extratropics, there are large differences between present results and those of the other models due to differences in tropospheric warming and tropospheric forcing of the stratospheric residual circulation. A net decrease in column ozone at midlatitudes is seen in this climate model, in contrast to the other models that showed an increase in column ozone everywhere. These ozone reductions lead to an increase of 10% in UV radiation reaching the surface at northern midlatitudes. The authors find significantly less of an increase in the high-latitude ozone column than in the other models.

When parameterized heterogeneous chemistry on polar stratospheric clouds is also included, while maintaining current chlorine loading, it is found that the Antarctic ozone hole becomes significantly larger and of longer duration. In addition, an ozone hole of approximately half the depth in percent of the current Antarctic ozone hole forms in the Arctic due to both chemistry and transport changes resulting from a reduction of sudden warmings seen in the doubled CO2 atmosphere.

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Drew T. Shindell, David Rind, and Nambath Balachandran

Abstract

Simulations were performed with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies GCM including a prescribed quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), applied at a constant maximum value, and a physically realistic parameterization of the heterogeneous chemistry responsible for severe polar ozone loss. While the QBO is primarily a stratospheric phenomenon, in this model the QBO modulates the amount and propagation of planetary wave energy in the troposphere as well as in the stratosphere. Dynamical activity is greater in the easterly than in the unforced case, while westerly years are dynamically more quiescent. By altering zonal winds and potential vorticity, the QBO forcing changes the refraction of planetary waves beginning in midwinter, causing the lower-stratospheric zonal average temperatures at Southern Hemisphere high latitudes to be ∼3–5 K warmer in the easterly phase than in the westerly during the late winter and early spring. Ozone loss varies nonlinearly with temperature, due to the sharp threshold for formation of heterogeneous chemistry surfaces, so that the mean daily total mass of ozone depleted in this region during September was 8.7 × 1010 kg in the QBO easterly maximum, as compared with 12.0 × 1010 kg in the westerly maximum and 10.3 × 1010 kg in the unforced case. Through this mechanism, the midwinter divergence of the Eliassen–Palm flux is well correlated with the subsequent springtime total ozone loss (R 2 = 0.6). The chemical ozone loss differences are much larger than QBO-induced transport differences in our model.

Inclusion of the QBO forcing also increased the maximum variability in total ozone loss from the ∼20% value found in the unforced runs to ∼50%. These large variations in ozone depletion are very similar in size to the largest observed variations in the severity of the ozone hole. The results suggest that both random variability and periodic QBO forcing are important components, perhaps explaining some of the difficulties encountered in previous attempts to correlate the severity of the ozone hole with the QBO phase.

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Drew T. Shindell, Sun Wong, and David Rind

Abstract

To study the interannual variability of the Antarctic ozone hole, a physically realistic parameterization of the chemistry responsible for severe polar ozone loss has been included in the GISS GCM. The ensuing ozone hole agrees well with observations, as do modeled surface UV increases of up to 42%. The presence of the ozone hole causes a reduction in lower stratospheric solar heating and an increase in upper stratospheric descent and dynamical heating in the model, as expected. Both the degree of ozone depletion and the dynamical response exhibit large interannual variability, however. These variations are driven by differences in the midwinter buildup of tropospheric wave energy in the model, which affect the dynamics globally for several months according to the mechanism detailed herein. Starting by July, strong tropospheric wave activity leads to greater energy reaching the lower stratosphere, and therefore warmer temperatures, than in years with weak wave activity. The warmer temperatures persist throughout the austral spring, resulting in ozone losses that are only ∼80% of those seen in the years with weaker wave activity. Significant differences also occur in the zonal wind field, setting up conditions that ultimately affect the propagation of wave energy in the spring. Differences in the propagation of wave energy lead to an October increase in upper stratospheric dynamical heating that is more than three times larger in the years with weak wave activity than in years with strong wave activity. Modeled interannual variations in both upper stratospheric temperatures and ozone loss are of similar magnitude to observations, though the largest observed variations exceed those seen here, indicating that unforced variability likely plays a significant role in addition to periodic forcings such as the QBO. The results are in accord with observational studies showing a strong anticorrelation between the interannual variability of tropospheric wave forcing and of the Antarctic ozone hole, suggesting that midwinter tropospheric wave energy may be the best predictor of the severity of the ozone hole the following spring.

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Jae N. Lee, Drew T. Shindell, and Sultan Hameed

Abstract

The response of the seasonal tropical circulation to an 11-yr solar cycle forcing is studied with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) ModelE, which includes fully interactive atmospheric chemistry. To identify characteristic solar signals in the tropical circulation, the model experiments are carried out with certain imposed conditions: a doubly amplified solar forcing and the present-day and preindustrial greenhouse gases and aerosol conditions, with the mixed layer or fully coupled dynamic ocean model. In both the model and the NCEP reanalysis, tropical humidity increases in response to enhanced solar irradiance are found to be statistically significant in both solstice seasons. Changes are also found in the vertical velocities for both the Hadley and Walker circulations in some areas of the Pacific region. With present-day greenhouse gas and aerosol conditions, the ascending branch of the Hadley cell is enhanced near the equator, and the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is shifted northward in response to solar forcing during the boreal winter. Enhancement of the meridionally averaged vertical velocity over the western Pacific indicates strengthening of the Walker circulation in response to solar forcing in both solstice seasons. In present-day conditions, the tropical circulation response to an 11-yr solar forcing is generally consistent with that derived from previous observational works.

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Drew T. Shindell, Gavin A. Schmidt, Ron L. Miller, and Michael E. Mann

Abstract

The climate response to variability in volcanic aerosols and solar irradiance, the primary forcings during the preindustrial era, is examined in a stratosphere-resolving general circulation model. The best agreement with historical and proxy data is obtained using both forcings, each of which has a significant effect on global mean temperatures. However, their regional climate impacts in the Northern Hemisphere are quite different. While the short-term continental winter warming response to volcanism is well known, it is shown that due to opposing dynamical and radiative effects, the long-term (decadal mean) regional response is not significant compared to unforced variability for either the winter or the annual average. In contrast, the long-term regional response to solar forcing greatly exceeds unforced variability for both time averages, as the dynamical and radiative effects reinforce one another, and produces climate anomalies similar to those seen during the Little Ice Age. Thus, long-term regional changes during the preindustrial appear to have been dominated by solar forcing.

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Leon D. Rotstayn, Mark A. Collier, Drew T. Shindell, and Olivier Boucher

Abstract

Linear regression is used to examine the relationship between simulated changes in historical global-mean surface temperature (GMST) and global-mean aerosol effective radiative forcing (ERF) in 14 climate models from CMIP5. The models have global-mean aerosol ERF that ranges from −0.35 to −1.60 W m−2 for 2000 relative to 1850. It is shown that aerosol ERF is the dominant factor that determines intermodel variations in simulated GMST change: correlations between aerosol ERF and simulated changes in GMST exceed 0.9 for linear trends in GMST over all periods that begin between 1860 and 1950 and end between 1995 and 2005. Comparison of modeled and observed GMST trends for these time periods gives an inferred global-mean aerosol ERF of −0.92 W m−2.

On average, transient climate sensitivity is roughly 40% larger with respect to historical forcing from aerosols than well-mixed greenhouse gases. This enhanced sensitivity explains the dominant effect of aerosol forcing on simulated changes in GMST: it is estimated that 85% of the intermodel variance of simulated GMST change is explained by variations in aerosol ERF, but without the enhanced sensitivity less than half would be explained. Physically, the enhanced sensitivity is caused by a combination of 1) the larger concentration of aerosol forcing in the midlatitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, where positive feedbacks are stronger and transient warming is faster than in the Southern Hemisphere, and 2) the time evolution of aerosol forcing, which levels out earlier than forcing from well-mixed greenhouse gases.

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David Rind, Drew Shindell, Judith Perlwitz, Jean Lerner, Patrick Lonergan, Judith Lean, and Chris McLinden

Abstract

The climate during the Maunder Minimum is compared with current conditions in GCM simulations that include a full stratosphere and parameterized ozone response to solar spectral irradiance variability and trace gas changes. The Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Global Climate/Middle Atmosphere Model (GCMAM) coupled to a q-flux/mixed-layer model is used for the simulations, which begin in 1500 and extend to the present. Experiments were made to investigate the effect of total versus spectrally varying solar irradiance changes; spectrally varying solar irradiance changes on the stratospheric ozone/climate response with both preindustrial and present trace gases; and the impact on climate and stratospheric ozone of the preindustrial trace gases and aerosols by themselves. The results showed that 1) the Maunder Minimum cooling relative to today was primarily associated with reduced anthropogenic radiative forcing, although the solar reduction added 40% to the overall cooling. There is no obvious distinguishing surface climate pattern between the two forcings. 2) The global and tropical response was greater than 1°C, in a model with a sensitivity of 1.2°C (W m−2)−1. To reproduce recent low-end estimates would require a sensitivity one-fourth as large. 3) The global surface temperature change was similar when using the total and spectral irradiance prescriptions, although the tropical response was somewhat greater with the former, and the stratospheric response greater with the latter. 4) Most experiments produce a relative negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation/Arctic Oscillation (NAO/AO) during the Maunder Minimum, with both solar and anthropogenic forcing equally capable, associated with the tropical cooling and relative poleward Eliassen–Palm (EP) flux refraction. 5) A full stratosphere appeared to be necessary for the negative AO/NAO phase, as was the case with this model for global warming experiments, unless the cooling was very large, while the ozone response played a minor role and did not influence surface temperature significantly. 6) Stratospheric ozone was most affected by the difference between present-day and preindustrial atmospheric composition and chemistry, with increases in the upper and lower stratosphere during the Maunder Minimum. While the estimated UV reduction led to ozone decreases, this was generally less important than the anthropogenic effect except in the upper midstratosphere, as judged by two different ozone photochemistry schemes. 7) The effect of the reduced solar irradiance on stratospheric ozone and on climate was similar in Maunder Minimum and current atmospheric conditions.

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Dorothy Koch, Susanne E. Bauer, Anthony Del Genio, Greg Faluvegi, Joseph R. McConnell, Surabi Menon, Ronald L. Miller, David Rind, Reto Ruedy, Gavin A. Schmidt, and Drew Shindell

Abstract

The authors simulate transient twentieth-century climate in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) GCM, with aerosol and ozone chemistry fully coupled to one another and to climate including a full dynamic ocean. Aerosols include sulfate, black carbon (BC), organic carbon, nitrate, sea salt, and dust. Direct and BC-snow-albedo radiative effects are included. Model BC and sulfur trends agree fairly well with records from Greenland and European ice cores and with sulfur deposition in North America; however, the model underestimates the sulfur decline at the end of the century in Greenland. Global BC effects peak early in the century (1940s); afterward the BC effects decrease at high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere but continue to increase at lower latitudes. The largest increase in aerosol optical depth occurs in the middle of the century (1940s–80s) when sulfate forcing peaks and causes global dimming. After this, aerosols decrease in eastern North America and northern Eurasia leading to regional positive forcing changes and brightening. These surface forcing changes have the correct trend but are too weak. Over the century, the net aerosol direct effect is −0.41 W m−2, the BC-albedo effect is −0.02 W m−2, and the net ozone forcing is +0.24 W m−2. The model polar stratospheric ozone depletion develops, beginning in the 1970s. Concurrently, the sea salt load and negative radiative flux increase over the oceans around Antarctica. Net warming over the century is modeled fairly well; however, the model fails to capture the dynamics of the observed midcentury cooling followed by the late century warming. Over the century, 20% of Arctic warming and snow–ice cover loss is attributed to the BC-albedo effect. However, the decrease in this effect at the end of the century contributes to Arctic cooling.

To test the climate responses to sulfate and BC pollution, two experiments were branched from 1970 that removed all pollution sulfate or BC. Averaged over 1970–2000, the respective radiative forcings relative to the full experiment were +0.3 and −0.3 W m−2; the average surface air temperature changes were +0.2° and −0.03°C. The small impact of BC reduction on surface temperature resulted from reduced stability and loss of low-level clouds.

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Gavin A. Schmidt, Reto Ruedy, James E. Hansen, Igor Aleinov, Nadine Bell, Mike Bauer, Susanne Bauer, Brian Cairns, Vittorio Canuto, Ye Cheng, Anthony Del Genio, Greg Faluvegi, Andrew D. Friend, Tim M. Hall, Yongyun Hu, Max Kelley, Nancy Y. Kiang, Dorothy Koch, Andy A. Lacis, Jean Lerner, Ken K. Lo, Ron L. Miller, Larissa Nazarenko, Valdar Oinas, Jan Perlwitz, Judith Perlwitz, David Rind, Anastasia Romanou, Gary L. Russell, Makiko Sato, Drew T. Shindell, Peter H. Stone, Shan Sun, Nick Tausnev, Duane Thresher, and Mao-Sung Yao

Abstract

A full description of the ModelE version of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) and results are presented for present-day climate simulations (ca. 1979). This version is a complete rewrite of previous models incorporating numerous improvements in basic physics, the stratospheric circulation, and forcing fields. Notable changes include the following: the model top is now above the stratopause, the number of vertical layers has increased, a new cloud microphysical scheme is used, vegetation biophysics now incorporates a sensitivity to humidity, atmospheric turbulence is calculated over the whole column, and new land snow and lake schemes are introduced. The performance of the model using three configurations with different horizontal and vertical resolutions is compared to quality-controlled in situ data, remotely sensed and reanalysis products. Overall, significant improvements over previous models are seen, particularly in upper-atmosphere temperatures and winds, cloud heights, precipitation, and sea level pressure. Data–model comparisons continue, however, to highlight persistent problems in the marine stratocumulus regions.

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