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  1. Abstract

    In response to global warming, ozone is predicted to increase aloft due to stratospheric cooling but decrease in the tropical lower stratosphere. The ozone reductions have been primarily attributed to a strengthening Brewer‐Dobson circulation, which upwells ozone‐poor air. Yet, this paper finds that strengthening upwelling only explains part of the reduction. The reduction is also driven by tropospheric expansion under global warming, which erodes the ozone layer from below, the low ozone anomalies from which are advected upwards. Strengthening upwelling and tropospheric expansion are correlated under global warming, making it challenging to disentangle their relative contributions. Therefore, chemistry‐climate model output is used to validate an idealized model of ozone photochemistry and transport with a tropopause lower boundary condition. In our idealized decomposition, strengthening upwelling and tropospheric expansion both contribute at leading order to reducing tropical ozone. Tropospheric expansion drives bottom‐heavy reductions in ozone, which decay in magnitude into the mid‐stratosphere.

     
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  2. The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is a descending pattern of alternating easterly and westerly winds in the tropical stratosphere. Upwelling is generally understood to counteract the descent of the QBO. The upwelling hypothesis holds that where upwelling exceeds the intrinsic descent rate of the QBO, the QBO cannot descend and a buffer zone forms. Descent-rate models of the QBO, which represent a highly simplified evolution of a QBO wind contour, support the upwelling hypothesis. Here, we show that the upwelling hypothesis and descent-rate models only correctly describe buffer zone formation in the absence of wave dissipation below critical levels. When there is wave dissipation below critical levels, the 1D QBO response to upwelling can be either to 1) reform below the upwelling, 2) undergo period-lengthening collapse, or 3) expand a preexisting buffer zone. The response depends on the location of the upwelling and the lower boundary condition. Mean-flow damping always forms a buffer zone. A previous study of reanalyses showed that there is mean-flow damping in the buffer zone due to horizontal momentum flux divergence. Therefore, the 1D model implicates lateral terms in buffer zone formation that it cannot self-consistently include.

     
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  3. Abstract

    The quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is a descending pattern of winds in the stratosphere that vanishes near the top of the tropical tropopause layer, even though the vertically propagating waves that drive the QBO are thought to originate in the troposphere several kilometers below. The region where there is low QBO power despite sufficient vertically propagating wave activity to drive a QBO is known as the buffer zone. Classical one-dimensional models of the QBO are ill suited to represent buffer zone dynamics because they enforce the attenuation of the QBO via a zero-wind lower boundary condition. The formation of the buffer zone is investigated by analyzing momentum budgets in the reanalyses MERRA-2 and ERA-Interim. The buffer zone must be formed by weak wave-driven acceleration and/or cancellation of the wave-driven acceleration. This paper shows that in MERRA-2 weak wave-driven acceleration is insufficient to form the buffer zone, so cancellation of the wave-driven acceleration must play a role. The cancellation results from damping of angular momentum anomalies, primarily due to horizontal mean and horizontal eddy momentum flux divergence, with secondary contributions from the Coriolis torque and vertical mean momentum flux divergence. The importance of the damping terms highlights the role of the buffer zone as the mediator of angular momentum exchange between the QBO domain and the far field. Some far-field angular momentum anomalies reach the solid Earth, leading to the well-documented lagged correlation between the QBO and the length of day.

     
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