Trends in moist static energy (MSE) transport are investigated for the years 1980 through 2018 using four different reanalysis data sets. The reanalysis data sets show agreement in the eddy MSE transport trends and the latitudinal structure of the MSE trends, but vary widely in the trend of the flux of the climatological zonal mean MSE by the anomalous zonal mean meridional wind. The latter dominates the total MSE transport trends in all four data sets. Therefore, none of the four total MSE flux trends is downgradient of the corresponding MSE trend. Further analysis of the MSE trends reveals that dry static energy increases strongly dominate MSE trends at all latitudes, including in the tropics where climate models and theory predict latent energy increases to dominate. As changes in MSE transport are routinely assumed to be downgradient when interpreting changes in climate, including Arctic amplification, further investigation of reanalysis MSE transport is warranted.
In a previous study, we investigated whether reanalysis moist static energy (MSE) transport trends over the 1980 through 2018 period are consistent (a) with each other and (b) with the finding that these transport trends are downgradient, as found in climate models. Regarding point (a), our conclusion was that MSE transport trends were dependent on the reanalysis data set. However, Cox et al. (2023) correctly point out that the reanalysis dependence is reduced dramatically if a barotropic mass flux correction is applied at a monthly mean timescale prior to computing the MSE transport trends. In our reply below, we revisit point (b) after applying this correction. We find that even after the correction, reanalysis MSE transport trends are not downgradient nor poleward in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics. However, reanalysis does show a compensation between dry static and latent energy transport trends, which has been shown in climate models historically.more » « less
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Journal Name:
- Geophysical Research Letters
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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