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  1. Abstract There are a myriad of ways atmospheric circulation responds to increased CO 2 . In the troposphere, the region of the tropical upwelling narrows, the Hadley Cells expand, and the upper level subtropical zonal winds that comprise the subtropical jet strengthen. In the stratosphere, the tropical upwelling narrows and strengthens, enhancing the Brewer-Dobson Circulation. Despite the robustness of these projections, dynamical coupling between the features remains unclear. In this study, we analyze output from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) ModelE coupled climate model to examine any connection between the upper tropospheric and lower stratospheric circulation by considering the features’ seasonality, hemispheric asymmetry, scaling, and transient response to a broad range of CO 2 forcings. We find that a narrowing and strengthening of upper tropospheric upwelling occurs with a strengthening of the subtropical jet. There is also a narrowing and strengthening of lower stratospheric upwelling that is related to an equatorward shift in critical latitude for wave breaking and the associated strengthening of the subtropical lower stratosphere’s zonal winds. However, the stratospheric responses display different seasonal, hemispheric, and transient patterns than those in the troposphere, indicating independent circulation changes between the two domains. 
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  2. Abstract

    Extreme cold events over North America such as the February 2021 cold wave have been suggested to be linked to stratospheric polar vortex stretching. However, it is not resolved how robustly and on which timescales the stratosphere contributes to the surface anomalies. Here we introduce a simple measure of stratospheric wave activity for reanalyses and model outputs. In contrast to the well-known surface influences of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) that increase the intraseasonal persistence of weather regimes, we show that extreme stratospheric wave events are accompanied by intraseasonal fluctuations between warm and cold spells over North America in observations and climate models. Particularly, strong stratospheric wave events are followed by an increased risk of cold extremes over North America 5–25 days later. Idealized simulations in an atmospheric model with a well-resolved stratosphere corroborate that strong stratospheric wave activity precedes North American cold spells through vertical wave coupling. These findings potentially benefit the predictability of high-impact winter cold extremes over North America.

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  3. Abstract

    Volcanic super-eruptions have been theorized to cause severe global cooling, with the 74 kya Toba eruption purported to have driven humanity to near-extinction. However, this eruption left little physical evidence of its severity and models diverge greatly on the magnitude of post-eruption cooling. A key factor controlling the super-eruption climate response is the size of volcanic sulfate aerosol, a quantity that left no physical record and is poorly constrained by models. Here we show that this knowledge gap severely limits confidence in model-based estimates of super-volcanic cooling, and accounts for much of the disagreement among prior studies. By simulating super-eruptions over a range of aerosol sizes, we obtain global mean responses varying from extreme cooling all the way to the previously unexplored scenario of widespread warming. We also use an interactive aerosol model to evaluate the scaling between injected sulfur mass and aerosol size. Combining our model results with the available paleoclimate constraints applicable to large eruptions, we estimate that global volcanic cooling is unlikely to exceed 1.5°C no matter how massive the stratospheric injection. Super-eruptions, we conclude, may be incapable of altering global temperatures substantially more than the largest Common Era eruptions. This lack of exceptional cooling could explain why no single super-eruption event has resulted in firm evidence of widespread catastrophe for humans or ecosystems.

    Significance Statement

    Whether volcanic super-eruptions pose a threat to humanity remains a subject of debate, with climate models disagreeing on the magnitude of global post-eruption cooling. We demonstrate that this disagreement primarily stems from a lack of constraint on the size of volcanic sulfate aerosol particles. By evaluating the range of aerosol size scenarios, we demonstrate that eruptions may be incapable of causing more than 1.5°C cooling no matter how much sulfur they inject into the stratosphere. This could explain why archaeological records provide no evidence of increased human mortality following the Toba super-eruption. Further, we raise the unexplored possibility that the largest super-eruptions could cause global-scale warming.

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  4. Abstract

    The enhanced warming of the Arctic, relative to other parts of the Earth, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification, is one of the most striking features of climate change, and has important climatic impacts for the entire Northern Hemisphere. Several mechanisms are believed to be responsible for Arctic amplification; however, a quantitative understanding of their relative importance is still missing. Here, using ensembles of model integrations, we quantify the contribution of ocean coupling, both its thermodynamic and dynamic components, to Arctic amplification over the 20th and 21st centuries. We show that ocean coupling accounts for ~80% of the amplification by 2100. In particular, we show that thermodynamic coupling is responsible for future amplification and sea-ice loss as it overcomes the effect of dynamic coupling which reduces the amplification and sea-ice loss by ~35%. Our results demonstrate the utility of targeted numerical experiments to quantify the role of specific mechanisms in Arctic amplification, for better constraining climate projections.

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  5. Abstract

    Effective climate sensitivity (EffCS), commonly estimated from model simulations with abrupt 4×CO2for 150 years, has been shown to depend on the CO2forcing level. To understand this dependency systematically, we performed a series of simulations with a range of abrupt CO2forcing in two climate models. Our results indicate that normalized EffCS values in these simulations are a non‐monotonic function of the CO2forcing, decreasing between 3× and 4×CO2in CESM1‐LE (2× and 3×CO2in GISS‐E2.1‐G) and increasing at higher CO2levels. The minimum EffCS value, caused by anomalously negative radiative feedbacks, arises mainly from sea‐surface temperature (SST) relative cooling in the tropical and subtropical North Atlantic. This cooling is associated with the formation of the North Atlantic Warming Hole and Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation collapse under CO2forcing. Our findings imply that understanding changes in North Atlantic SST patterns is important for constraining near‐future and equilibrium global warming.

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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Observational studies show a strong connection between the intraseasonal Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) and the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO): the boreal winter MJO is stronger, more predictable, and has different teleconnections when the QBO in the lower stratosphere is easterly versus westerly. Despite the strength of the observed connection, global climate models do not produce an MJO-QBO link. Here the authors use a current-generation ocean-atmosphere coupled NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies global climate model (Model E2.1) to examine the MJO-QBO link. To represent the QBO with minimal bias, the model zonal mean stratospheric zonal and meridional winds are relaxed to reanalysis fields from 1980-2017. The model troposphere, including the MJO, is allowed to freely evolve. The model with stratospheric nudging captures QBO signals well, including QBO temperature anomalies. However, an ensemble of nudged simulations still lacks an MJO-QBO connection. 
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  7. Abstract. This paper describes version 2.0 of the Global Change and Air Pollution (GCAP 2.0) model framework, a one-way offline coupling between version E2.1 of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) general circulation model (GCM) and the GEOS-Chem global 3-D chemical-transport model (CTM). Meteorology for driving GEOS-Chem has been archived from the E2.1 contributions to phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) for the pre-industrial era and the recent past. In addition, meteorology is available for the near future and end of the century for seven future scenarios ranging from extreme mitigation to extreme warming. Emissions and boundary conditions have been prepared for input to GEOS-Chem that are consistent with the CMIP6 experimental design. The model meteorology, emissions, transport, and chemistry are evaluated in the recent past and found to be largely consistent with GEOS-Chem driven by the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications version 2 (MERRA-2) product and with observational constraints. 
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  8. Abstract

    We investigate wintertime extreme sea ice loss events on synoptic to subseasonal time scales over the Barents–Kara Sea, where the largest sea ice variability is located. Consistent with previous studies, extreme sea ice loss events are associated with moisture intrusions over the Barents–Kara Sea, which are driven by the large-scale atmospheric circulation. In addition to the role of downward longwave radiation associated with moisture intrusions, which is emphasized by previous studies, our analysis shows that strong turbulent heat fluxes are associated with extreme sea ice melting events, with both turbulent sensible and latent heat fluxes contributing, although turbulent sensible heat fluxes dominate. Our analysis also shows that these events are connected to tropical convective anomalies. A dipole pattern of convective anomalies with enhanced convection over the Maritime Continent and suppressed convection over the central to eastern Pacific is consistently detected about 6–10 days prior to extreme sea ice loss events. This pattern is associated with either the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) or El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Composites show that extreme sea ice loss events are connected to tropical convection via Rossby wave propagation in the midlatitudes. However, tropical convective anomalies alone are not sufficient to trigger extreme sea ice loss events, suggesting that extratropical variability likely modulates the connection between tropical convection and extreme sea ice loss events.

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  9. Abstract

    Trace gases and aerosols play an important role in Arctic chemistry and climate. As most Arctic tracers and aerosols are transported from midlatitude source regions, long‐range transport into the Arctic is one of the key factors to understand the current and future states of Arctic climate. While previous studies have investigated the airmass fraction and transit time distribution in the Arctic, the actual transport pathways and their underlying dynamics and efficiencies are yet to be understood. In this study, we implement a large ensemble of idealized tagged pulse passive tracers in the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model version 5 to identify and analyze summertime transport pathways from different Northern Hemisphere surface regions into the Arctic. Three different transport pathways are identified as those associated with fast, intermediate and slow time scales. Midlatitude tracers can be transported into the Arctic in the troposphere via the fast transport pathway (∼8 days), which moves tracers northward from the source region mainly through transient eddies. For the intermediate transport pathway, which happens on 1–3 weeks’ time scales, midlatitude tracers are first zonally transported by the jet stream, and then advected northward into the Arctic over Alaska and northern North Atlantic. Tropical and subtropical tracers are transported into the Arctic lower stratosphere via the slow transport pathway (1–3 months), as the tracers are lifted upward into the tropical and subtropical lower stratosphere, and then transported into the Arctic following the isentropic surfaces.

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  10. Abstract

    Recent studies have shown a large spread in the transport of atmospheric tracers into the Arctic among a suite of chemistry climate models and have suggested that this is related to the spread in the meridional extent of the Hadley Cell (HC). Here we examine the HC‐transport relationship using an idealized model, where we vary the mean circulation and isolate its impact on transport to the Arctic. It is shown that the poleward transport depends on the relative position between the northern edge of the HC and the tracer source, with maximum transport occurring when the HC edge lies near the middle of the source region. Such dependence highlights the critical role of near‐surface transport by the Eulerian mean circulation rather than eddy mixing in the free troposphere and suggests that variations in the HC edge and the tracer source region are both important for modeling Arctic composition.

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