skip to main content

Title: Atmospheric Chemistry Signatures of an Equatorially Symmetric Matsuno–Gill Circulation Pattern
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 + ClONO 2 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, NO 2 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 more » in the UTLS during near-equinox months. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1906719
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10248804
Journal Name:
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume:
78
Issue:
1
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
107 to 116
ISSN:
0022-4928
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    We study the adjustment of the tropical atmosphere to localized surface heating using a Lagrangian atmospheric model (LAM) that simulates a realistic Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO)—the dominant, eastward-propagating mode of tropical intraseasonal variability modulating atmospheric convection. Idealized warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies of different aspect ratios and magnitudes are imposed in the equatorial Indian Ocean during MJO-neutral conditions and then maintained for 15 days. The experiments then continue for several more months. Throughout these experiments, we observe a robust generation of an MJO event, evident in precipitation, velocity, temperature, and moisture fields, which becomes a key element of atmospheric adjustment along with the expected Kelvin and Rossby waves. The MJO circulation pattern gradually builds up during the first week, and then starts to propagate eastward at a speed of 5–7 m s−1. The upper-level quadrupole circulation characteristic of the MJO becomes evident around day 14, with two anticyclonic gyres generated by the Gill-type response to convective heating and two cyclonic gyres forced by the excited Kelvin waves and extratropical Rossby wave trains. A moisture budget analysis shows that the eastward propagation of the MJO is controlled largely by the anomalous advection of moisture and by the residual between anomalousmore »moisture accumulation due to converging winds and precipitation. The initial MJO event is followed by successive secondary events, maintaining the MJO for several more cycles. Thus, this study highlights the fundamental role that the MJO can play in the adjustment of the moist equatorial atmosphere to localized surface heating.

    « less
  2. Abstract. This study quantifies differences among four widely usedatmospheric reanalysis datasets (ERA5, JRA-55, MERRA-2, and CFSR) in theirrepresentation of the dynamical changes induced by springtime polarstratospheric ozone depletion in the Southern Hemisphere from 1980 to 2001.The intercomparison is undertaken as part of the SPARC(Stratosphere–troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate) ReanalysisIntercomparison Project (S-RIP). The reanalyses are generally in goodagreement in their representation of the strengthening of the lowerstratospheric polar vortex during the austral spring–summer season,associated with reduced radiative heating due to ozone loss, as well as thedescent of anomalously strong westerly winds into the troposphere duringsummer and the subsequent poleward displacement and intensification of thepolar front jet. Differences in the trends in zonal wind between thereanalyses are generally small compared to the mean trends. The exception isCFSR, which exhibits greater disagreement compared to the other threereanalysis datasets, with stronger westerly winds in the lower stratospherein spring and a larger poleward displacement of the tropospheric westerlyjet in summer. The dynamical changes associated with the ozone hole are examined byinvestigating the momentum budget and then the eddy heat and momentumfluxes in terms of planetary- and synoptic-scale Rossby wave contributions.The dynamical changes are consistently represented across the reanalysesand support our dynamical understanding ofmore »the response of the coupledstratosphere–troposphere system to the ozone hole. Although our resultssuggest a high degree of consistency across the four reanalysis datasets inthe representation of these dynamical changes, there are larger differencesin the wave forcing, residual circulation, and eddy propagation changes compared to the zonal wind trends. In particular, there is a noticeabledisparity in these trends in CFSR compared to the other three reanalyses,while the best agreement is found between ERA5 and JRA-55. Greateruncertainty in the components of the momentum budget, as opposed to meancirculation, suggests that the zonal wind is better constrained by theassimilation of observations compared to the wave forcing, residualcirculation, and eddy momentum and heat fluxes, which are more dependent onthe model-based forecasts that can differ between reanalyses. Lookingforward, however, these findings give us confidence that reanalysis datasetscan be used to assess changes associated with the ongoing recovery ofstratospheric ozone.« less
  3. Abstract Previous studies showed that global cloud-radiative changes contribute half or more to the midlatitude atmospheric circulation response to global warming. Here, we investigate the relative importance of tropical, midlatitude, and polar cloud-radiative changes for the annual-mean, wintertime, and summertime circulation response across regions in AMIP-like simulations. To this end, we study global warming simulations from the ICON model run with the cloud-locking method and prescribed sea surface temperatures, which isolate the impact of changes in atmospheric cloud-radiative heating. Tropical cloud changes dominate the global cloud impact on the 850 hPa zonal wind, jet strength, and storm track responses across most seasons and regions. For the jet shift, a more diverse picture is found. In the annual mean and DJF, tropical and midlatitude cloud changes contribute substantially to the poleward jet shift in all regions. The poleward jet shift is further supported by polar cloud changes across the Northern Hemisphere but not in the Southern Hemisphere. In JJA, the impact of regional cloud changes on the jet position is small, consistent with an overall small jet shift during this season. The jet shift can be largely understood via the anomalous atmospheric cloud-radiative heating in the tropical and midlatitude upper troposphere.more »The circulation changes are broadly consistent with the influence of cloud-radiative changes on upper-tropospheric baroclinicity and thus the mean potential energy available for conversion into eddy kinetic energy. Our results help to explain the jet response to global warming and highlight the importance of tropical and midlatitude cloud-radiative changes for this response.« less
  4. Abstract

    A framework is introduced to investigate the indirect effect of aerosol loading on tropical deep convection using three-dimensional limited-domain idealized cloud-system-resolving model simulations coupled with large-scale dynamics over fixed sea surface temperature. The large-scale circulation is parameterized using the spectral weak temperature gradient (WTG) approximation that utilizes the dominant balance between adiabatic cooling and diabatic heating in the tropics. The aerosol loading effect is examined by varying the number of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) available to form cloud droplets in the two-moment bulk microphysics scheme over a wide range of environments from 30 to 5000 cm−3. The radiative heating is held at a constant prescribed rate in order to isolate the microphysical effects. Analyses are performed over the period after equilibrium is achieved between convection and the large-scale environment. Mean precipitation is found to decrease modestly and monotonically when the aerosol number concentration increases as convection gets weaker, despite the increase in cloud liquid water in the warm-rain region and ice crystals aloft. This reduction is traced down to the reduction in surface enthalpy fluxes as an energy source to the atmospheric column induced by the coupling of the large-scale motion, though the gross moist stability remains constant. Increasingmore »CCN concentration leads to 1) a cooler free troposphere because of a reduction in the diabatic heating and 2) a warmer boundary layer because of suppressed evaporative cooling. This dipole temperature structure is associated with anomalously descending large-scale vertical motion above the boundary layer and ascending motion at lower levels. Sensitivity tests suggest that changes in convection and mean precipitation are unlikely to be caused by the impact of aerosols on cloud droplets and microphysical properties but rather by accounting for the feedback from convective adjustment with the large-scale dynamics. Furthermore, a simple scaling argument is derived based on the vertically integrated moist static energy budget, which enables estimation of changes in precipitation given known changes in surfaces enthalpy fluxes and the constant gross moist stability. The impact on cloud hydrometeors and microphysical properties is also examined, and it is consistent with the macrophysical picture.

    « less
  5. Abstract The flux of moist static energy into the polar regions plays a key role in the energy budget and climate of the polar regions. While usually studied from a vertically integrated perspective ( F wall ), this analysis examines its vertical structure, using the NASA-MERRA-2 reanalysis to compute climatological and anomalous fluxes of sensible, latent, and potential energy across 70°N and 65°S for the period 1980–2016. The vertical structure of the climatological flux is bimodal, with peaks in the middle to lower troposphere and middle to upper stratosphere. The near-zero flux at the tropopause defines the boundary between stratospheric ( F strat ) and tropospheric ( F trop ) contributions to F wall . Especially at 70°N, F strat is found to be important to the climatology and variability of F wall , contributing 20.9 W m −2 to F wall (19% of F wall ) during the winter and explaining 23% of the variance of F wall . During winter, an anomalous poleward increase in F strat preceding a sudden stratospheric warming is followed by an increase in outgoing longwave radiation anomalies, with little influence on the surface energy budget of the Arctic. Conversely, a majority of themore »energy input by an anomalous poleward increase in F trop goes toward warming the Arctic surface. Overall, F trop is found to be a better metric than F wall for evaluating the influence of atmospheric circulations on the Arctic surface climate.« less