skip to main content


Title: The role of wave–wave interactions in sudden stratospheric warming formation
Abstract. The effects of wave–wave interactions on sudden stratospheric warming formation are investigated using an idealized atmospheric general circulation model, in which tropospheric heating perturbations of zonal wave numbers 1 and 2 are used to produce planetary-scale wave activity. Zonal wave–wave interactions are removed at different vertical extents of the atmosphere in order to examine the sensitivity of stratospheric circulation to local changes in wave–wave interactions. We show that the effects of wave–wave interactions on sudden warming formation, including sudden warming frequencies, are strongly dependent on the wave number of the tropospheric forcing and the vertical levels where wave–wave interactions are removed. Significant changes in sudden warming frequencies are evident when wave–wave interactions are removed even when the lower-stratospheric wave forcing does not change, highlighting the fact that the upper stratosphere is not a passive recipient of wave forcing from below. We find that while wave–wave interactions are required in the troposphere and lower stratosphere to produce displacements when wave number 2 heating is used, both splits and displacements can be produced without wave–wave interactions in the troposphere and lower stratosphere when the model is forced by wave number 1 heating. We suggest that the relative strengths of wave number 1 and 2 vertical wave flux entering the stratosphere largely determine the split and displacement ratios when wave number 2 forcing is used but not wave number 1.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1921409
NSF-PAR ID:
10174713
Author(s) / Creator(s):
;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Weather and Climate Dynamics
Volume:
1
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2698-4016
Page Range / eLocation ID:
93 to 109
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Observational data have long suggested that in the tropics, when the troposphere locally warms, the lower stratosphere locally cools. Here, the observed anti-correlation between tropospheric and lower stratospheric temperature is confirmed—the lower stratosphere cools by approximately 2 degrees per degree of warming in the mid-troposphere. This anti-correlation is explained through a recently proposed theory holding that there is a quasi-balanced response of the stratosphere to tropospheric heating [J. Lin, K. Emanuel, Tropospheric thermal forcing of the stratosphere through quasi-balanced dynamics.J. Atmos. Sci.(2024).]. The local-scale anti-correlation between tropospheric and lower stratospheric temperature also holds when considering climate change—where the troposphere has been anomalously warming relative to the zonal mean, the lower stratosphere has been anomalously cooling, and vice versa. This suggests that zonally asymmetries in tropospheric temperature trends will be reflected in that of the lower stratospheric temperature trends. The zonally asymmetric trends are also found to be comparable in magnitude to the mean temperature trends in the lower stratosphere, highlighting the importance of the pattern of warming. The results and proposed theory suggest that in addition to forcing via wave-dissipation, the lower stratosphere can also be subject to direct forcing by the troposphere, through quasi-steady, quasi-balanced dynamics. 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Although sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) can improve subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasts, it is unclear whether the two types of SSW - displacements and splits - have different near- surface effects. To examine the longer-term (i.e., multi-week lead) tropospheric response to displacements and splits, we utilize an intermediate-complexity model and impose wave-1 and wave-2 stratospheric heating perturbations spun-off from a control run. At longer lags, the tropospheric response is found to be insensitive to both the wavenumber and location of the imposed heating, in agreement with freely evolving displacements and splits identified in the control run. At shorter lags, however, large differences are found between displacements and splits in both the control run and the different wavenumber- forced events. In particular, in the control run, the free-running splits have an immediate barotropic response throughout the stratosphere and troposphere whereas displacements take 1–2 weeks before a near-surface response becomes evident. Interestingly, this barotropic response found during CTRL splits is not captured by the barotropically forced wave-2 events, indicating that the zonal-mean tropospheric circulation is somehow coupled with the generation of the wave-2 splits. It is also found that in the control run, displacements yield stronger Polar-Cap temperature anomalies than splits, yet both still yield similar magnitude tropospheric responses. Hence, the strength of the stratospheric warming is not the only governing factor in the surface response. Overall, SSW classification based on vortex morphology may be useful for subseasonal but not seasonal tropospheric prediction. 
    more » « less
  3. This study examines the Northern Hemisphere midlatitude circulation response to Arctic amplification (AA) in a simple atmospheric general circulation model. It is found that, in response to AA, the tropospheric jet shifts equatorward and the stratospheric polar vortex weakens, robustly for various AA forcing strengths. Despite this, no statistically significant change in the frequency of sudden stratospheric warming events is identified. In addition, in order to quantitatively assess the role of stratosphere–troposphere coupling, the tropospheric pathway is isolated by nudging the stratospheric zonal mean state toward the reference state. When the nudging is applied, rendering the stratosphere inactive, the tropospheric jet still shifts equatorward but by approximately half the magnitude compared to that of an active stratosphere. The difference represents the stratospheric pathway and the downward influence of the stratosphere on the troposphere. This suggests that stratosphere–troposphere coupling plays a nonnegligible role in establishing the midlatitude circulation response to AA. 
    more » « less
  4. A combination of 240 years of output from a state-of-the-art chemistry–climate model and a twentieth-century reanalysis product is used to investigate to what extent sudden stratospheric warmings are preceded by anomalous tropospheric wave activity. To this end we study the fate of lower tropospheric wave events (LTWEs) and their interaction with the stratospheric mean flow. These LTWEs are contrasted with sudden stratospheric deceleration events (SSDs), which are similar to sudden stratospheric warmings but place more emphasis on the explosive dynamical nature of such events. Reanalysis and model output provide very similar statistics: Around one-third of the identified SSDs are preceded by wave events in the lower troposphere, while two-thirds of the SSDs are not preceded by a tropospheric wave event. In addition, only 20% of all anomalous tropospheric wave events are followed by an SSD in the stratosphere. This constitutes statistically robust evidence that the anomalous amplification of wave activity in the stratosphere that drives SSDs is not necessarily due to an anomalous amplification of the waves in the source region (i.e., the lower troposphere). The results suggest that the dynamics in the lowermost stratosphere and the vortex geometry are essential, and should be carefully analyzed in the search for precursors of SSDs. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The steady response of the stratosphere to tropospheric thermal forcing via an SST perturbation is considered in two separate theoretical models. It is first shown that an SST anomaly imposes a geopotential anomaly at the tropopause. Solutions to the linearized quasigeostrophic potential vorticity equations are then used to show that the vertical length scale of a tropopause geopotential anomaly is initially shallow, but significantly increased by diabatic heating from radiative relaxation. This process is a quasi-balanced response of the stratosphere to tropospheric forcing. A previously developed, coupled troposphere–stratosphere model is then introduced and modified. Solutions under steady, zonally symmetric SST forcing in the linearβ-plane model show that the upward stratospheric penetration of the corresponding tropopause geopotential anomaly is controlled by two nondimensional parameters: 1) a dynamical aspect ratio and 2) a ratio between tropospheric and stratospheric drag. The meridional scale of the SST anomaly, radiative relaxation rate, and wave drag all significantly modulate these nondimensional parameters. Under Earthlike estimates of the nondimensional parameters, the theoretical model predicts stratospheric temperature anomalies 2–3 larger in magnitude than that in the boundary layer, approximately in line with observational data. Using reanalysis data, the spatial variability of temperature anomalies in the troposphere is shown to have remarkable coherence with that of the lower stratosphere, which further supports the existence of a quasi-balanced response of the stratosphere to SST forcing. These findings suggest that besides mechanical and radiative forcing, there is a third way the stratosphere can be forced—through the tropopause via tropospheric thermal forcing.

    Significance Statement

    Upward motion in the tropical stratosphere, the layer of atmosphere above where most weather occurs, is thought to be controlled by weather disturbances that propagate upward and dissipate in the stratosphere. The strength of this upward motion is important since it sets the global distribution of ozone. We formulate and use simple mathematical models to show the vertical motion in the stratosphere can also depend on the warming in the troposphere, the layer of atmosphere where humans live. We use the theory as an explanation for our observations of inverse correlations between the ocean temperature and the stratosphere temperature. These findings suggest that local stratospheric cooling may be coupled to local tropospheric warming.

     
    more » « less