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  1. Abstract Stratospheric aerosol geoengineering has been proposed as a potential solution to reduce climate change and its impacts. Here, we explore the responses of the Hadley circulation (HC) intensity and the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) using the strategic stratospheric aerosol geoengineering, in which sulfur dioxide was injected into the stratosphere at four different locations to maintain the global-mean surface temperature and the interhemispheric and equator-to-pole temperature gradients at present-day values (baseline). Simulations show that, relative to the baseline, strategic stratospheric aerosol geoengineering generally maintains northern winter December–January–February (DJF) HC intensity under RCP8.5, while it overcompensates for the greenhouse gas (GHG)-forced southern winter June–July–August (JJA) HC intensity increase, producing a 3.5 ± 0.4% weakening. The residual change of southern HC intensity in JJA is mainly associated with stratospheric heating and tropospheric temperature response due to enhanced stratospheric aerosol concentrations. Geoengineering overcompensates for the GHG-driven northward ITCZ shifts, producing 0.7° ± 0.1° and 0.2° ± 0.1° latitude southward migrations in JJA and DJF, respectively relative to the baseline. These migrations are affected by tropical interhemispheric temperature differences both at the surface and in the free troposphere. Further strategies for reducing the residual change of HC intensity and ITCZ shifts under stratospheric aerosol geoengineering could involve minimizing stratospheric heating and restoring and preserving the present-day tropical tropospheric interhemispheric temperature differences. 
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  2. The tropospheric response to midwinter sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) is examined using an idealized model. SSW events are triggered by imposing high-latitude stratospheric heating perturbations of varying magnitude for only a few days, spun off from a free-running control integration (CTRL). The evolution of the thermally triggered SSWs is then compared with naturally occurring SSWs identified in CTRL. By applying a heating perturbation, with no modification to the momentum budget, it is possible to isolate the tropospheric response directly attributable to a change in the stratospheric polar vortex, independent of any planetary wave momentum torques involved in the initiation of an SSW. Zonal-wind anomalies associated with the thermally triggered SSWs first propagate downward to the high-latitude troposphere after ~2 weeks, before migrating equatorward and stalling at midlatitudes, where they straddle the near-surface jet. After ~3 weeks, the circulation and eddy fluxes associated with thermally triggered SSWs evolve very similarly to SSWs in CTRL, despite the lack of initial planetary wave driving. This suggests that at longer lags, the tropospheric response to SSWs is generic and it is found to be linearly governed by the strength of the lower-stratospheric warming, whereas at shorter lags, the initial formation of the SSW potentially plays a large role in the downward coupling. In agreement with previous studies, synoptic waves are found to play a key role in the persistent tropospheric jet shift at long lags. Synoptic waves appear to respond to the enhanced midlatitude baroclinicity associated with the tropospheric jet shift, and preferentially propagate poleward in an apparent positive feedback with changes in the high-latitude refractive index. 
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  3. One of the greatest uncertainties when it comes to future projections of regional climate is how the large-scale atmospheric circulation will change (Shepherd 2014). While there is a general consensus among models on a zonal mean poleward shifting of the mid-latitude westerlies and associated storm tracks (Yin 2005; Kidston and Gerber 2010; Chang et al. 2012; Swart and Fyfe 2012; Wilcox et al. 2012; Barnes and Polvani 2013), there is a large spread in the magnitude of this response. In addition to this zonal mean, poleward shifting view, there are more localized changes in the circulation associated with altered stationary wave patterns (Stephenson and Held 1993; Joseph et al. 2004; Simpson et al. 2014). For many of these predicted changes, we do not have a good physical understanding of the mechanisms that produce them, or the factors that govern their uncertainty. The stratosphere and how it is expected to change in the future is one source of uncertainty, among many, in future tropospheric mid-latitude circulation change. There are a variety of ways in which the stratosphere’s mean state, variability and composition may impact on tropospheric climate change. Instead of providing an exhaustive review of this topic, we focus on the role of changes in the extra-tropical mean state of the stratosphere in future projections of tropospheric mid-latitude climate by considering two particular aspects. For the Northern Hemisphere we discuss the impact of uncertainty in future changes in the stratospheric polar vortex on tropospheric climate change. For the Southern Hemisphere we discuss the relative roles of stratospheric ozone depletion and changing greenhouse gas concentrations on the future evolution of the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitude jet stream. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model, version 4 (WACCM4), is used to investigate the influence of stratospheric conditions on the development of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs). To this end, targeted experiments are performed on selected modeled SSW events. Specifically, the model is reinitialized three weeks before a given SSW, relaxing the surface fluxes, winds, and temperature below 10 km to the corresponding fields from the free-running simulation. Hence, the tropospheric wave evolution is unaltered across the targeted experiments, but the stratosphere itself can evolve freely. The stratospheric zonal-mean state is then altered 21 days prior to the selected SSWs and rerun with an ensemble of different initial conditions. It is found that a given tropospheric evolution concomitant with the development of an SSW does not uniquely determine the occurrence of an event and that the stratospheric conditions are relevant to the subsequent evolution of the stratospheric flow toward an SSW, even for a fixed tropospheric evolution. It is also shown that interpreting the meridional heat flux at 100 hPa as a proxy of the tropospheric injection of wave activity into the stratosphere should be regarded with caution and that stratospheric dynamics critically influence the heat flux at that altitude. 
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  5. Abstract

    The stratosphere can have a significant impact on winter surface weather on subseasonal to seasonal (S2S) timescales. This study evaluates the ability of current operational S2S prediction systems to capture two important links between the stratosphere and troposphere: (1) changes in probabilistic prediction skill in the extratropical stratosphere by precursors in the tropics and the extratropical troposphere and (2) changes in surface predictability in the extratropics after stratospheric weak and strong vortex events. Probabilistic skill exists for stratospheric events when including extratropical tropospheric precursors over the North Pacific and Eurasia, though only a limited set of models captures the Eurasian precursors. Tropical teleconnections such as the Madden‐Julian Oscillation, the Quasi‐Biennial Oscillation, and El Niño–Southern Oscillation increase the probabilistic skill of the polar vortex strength, though these are only captured by a limited set of models. At the surface, predictability is increased over the United States, Russia, and the Middle East for weak vortex events, but not for Europe, and the change in predictability is smaller for strong vortex events for all prediction systems. Prediction systems with poorly resolved stratospheric processes represent this skill to a lesser degree. Altogether, the analyses indicate that correctly simulating stratospheric variability and stratosphere‐troposphere dynamical coupling are critical elements for skillful S2S wintertime predictions.

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  6. Abstract

    The stratosphere has been identified as an important source of predictability for a range of processes on subseasonal to seasonal (S2S) time scales. Knowledge about S2S predictability within the stratosphere is however still limited. This study evaluates to what extent predictability in the extratropical stratosphere exists in hindcasts of operational prediction systems in the S2S database. The stratosphere is found to exhibit extended predictability as compared to the troposphere. Prediction systems with higher stratospheric skill tend to also exhibit higher skill in the troposphere. The analysis also includes an assessment of the predictability for stratospheric events, including early and midwinter sudden stratospheric warming events, strong vortex events, and extreme heat flux events for the Northern Hemisphere and final warming events for both hemispheres. Strong vortex events and final warming events exhibit higher levels of predictability as compared to sudden stratospheric warming events. In general, skill is limited to the deterministic range of 1 to 2 weeks. High‐top prediction systems overall exhibit higher stratospheric prediction skill as compared to their low‐top counterparts, pointing to the important role of stratospheric representation in S2S prediction models.

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