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  1. Abstract

    Wave‐induced adiabatic mixing in the winter midlatitudes is one of the key processes impacting stratospheric transport. Understanding its strength and structure is vital to understanding the distribution of trace gases and their modulation under a changing climate. Age‐of‐air is often used to understand stratospheric transport, and this study proposes refinements to the vertical age gradient theory of Linz et al. (2021), The theory assumes exchange of air between a well‐mixed tropics and a well‐mixed extratropics, separated by a transport barrier, quantifying the adiabatic mixing flux across the interface using age‐based measures. These assumptions are re‐evaluated and a refined framework that includes the effects of meridional tracer gradients is established to quantify the mixing flux. This is achieved, in part, by computing a circulation streamfunction in age‐potential temperature coordinates to generate a complete distribution of parcel ages being mixed in the midlatitudes. The streamfunction quantifies the “true” age of parcels mixed between the tropics and the extratropics. Applying the revised theory to an idealized and a comprehensive climate model reveals that ignoring the meridional gradients in age leads to an underestimation of the wave‐driven mixing flux. Stronger, and qualitatively similar fluxes are obtained in both models, especially in the lower‐to‐middlemore »stratosphere. While the meridional span of adiabatic mixing in the two models exhibits some differences, they show that the deep tropical pipe, that is, latitudes equatorward of 15° barely mix with older midlatitude air. The novel age‐potential temperature circulation can be used to quantify additional aspects of stratospheric transport.

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  2. Abstract

    An intermediate complexity moist general circulation model is used to investigate the sensitivity of the quasi‐biennial oscillation (QBO) to resolution, diffusion, tropical tropospheric waves, and parameterized gravity waves. Finer horizontal resolution is shown to lead to a shorter period, while finer vertical resolution is shown to lead to a longer period and to a larger amplitude in the lowermost stratosphere. More scale‐selective diffusion leads to a faster and stronger QBO, while enhancing the sources of tropospheric stationary wave activity leads to a weaker QBO. In terms of parameterized gravity waves, broadening the spectral width of the source function leads to a longer period and a stronger amplitude although the amplitude effect saturates in the mid‐stratosphere when the half‐width exceedsm/s. A stronger gravity wave source stress leads to a faster and stronger QBO, and a higher gravity wave launch level leads to a stronger QBO. All of these sensitivities are shown to result from their impact on the resultant wave‐driven momentum torque in the tropical stratosphere. Atmospheric models have struggled to accurately represent the QBO, particularly at moderate resolutions ideal for long climate integrations. In particular, capturing the amplitude and penetration of QBO anomalies into the lower stratospheremore »(which has been shown to be critical for the tropospheric impacts) has proven a challenge. The results provide a recipe to generate and/or improve the simulation of the QBO in an atmospheric model.

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  3. Abstract

    A moist General Circulation Model is used to investigate the forcing of the Asian monsoon and the associated upper level anticyclone by land‐sea contrast, net horizontal oceanic heat transport, and topography. The monsoonal pattern is not simply the linear additive sum of the response to each forcing; only when all three forcings are included simultaneously does the monsoonal circulation extend westward to India. This nonadditivity impacts the location of the upper level anticyclone, which is shifted eastward and weaker if the forcings are imposed individually. Sahelian precipitation, and also austral summer precipitation over Australia, southern Africa, and South America, are likewise stronger if all forcings are imposed simultaneously. The source of the nonlinearity can be diagnosed using gross moist stability, but appears inconsistent with the land‐sea breeze paradigm. This non‐additivity implies that the question of which forcing is most important may be ill‐posed in many regions.

  4. Abstract

    The annular modes of the extratropical atmosphere have received much attention for quantifying variability of the jet streams and storm tracks, despite the fact that the midlatitude circulation itself does not vary uniformly with longitude. While tropical fluctuations in geopotential height have lower amplitude than in the extratropics, they exhibit stronger zonal coherence, or dynamical annularity. A simple index is developed to characterize zonal‐mean anomalies of the tropical circulation. It reveals that anomalies in geopotential height and zonal wind migrate downward from the upper troposphere to the surface on a time scale of about 10 days. These features are distinguishable from known modes of tropical variability, the Madden‐Julian Oscillation in particular. Evidence from reanalysis and idealized model experiments confirms that this downward migration is quite generic and driven by mechanically forced variations in the strength of the Hadley circulation on subseasonal time scales.

  5. Abstract

    Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are impressive fluid dynamical events in which large and rapid temperature increases in the winter polar stratosphere (10–50 km) are associated with a complete reversal of the climatological wintertime westerly winds. SSWs are caused by the breaking of planetary‐scale waves that propagate upwards from the troposphere. During an SSW, the polar vortex breaks down, accompanied by rapid descent and warming of air in polar latitudes, mirrored by ascent and cooling above the warming. The rapid warming and descent of the polar air column affect tropospheric weather, shifting jet streams, storm tracks, and the Northern Annular Mode, making cold air outbreaks over North America and Eurasia more likely. SSWs affect the atmosphere above the stratosphere, producing widespread effects on atmospheric chemistry, temperatures, winds, neutral (nonionized) particles and electron densities, and electric fields. These effects span both hemispheres. Given their crucial role in the whole atmosphere, SSWs are also seen as a key process to analyze in climate change studies and subseasonal to seasonal prediction. This work reviews the current knowledge on the most important aspects of SSWs, from the historical background to dynamical processes, modeling, chemistry, and impact on other atmospheric layers.

  6. Abstract

    Major sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs), vortex formation, and final breakdown dates are key highlight points of the stratospheric polar vortex. These phenomena are relevant for stratosphere‐troposphere coupling, which explains the interest in understanding their future changes. However, up to now, there is not a clear consensus on which projected changes to the polar vortex are robust, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly due to short data record or relatively moderate CO2forcing. The new simulations performed under the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 6, together with the long daily data requirements of the DynVarMIP project in preindustrial and quadrupled CO2(4xCO2) forcing simulations provide a new opportunity to revisit this topic by overcoming the limitations mentioned above. In this study, we analyze this new model output to document the change, if any, in the frequency of SSWs under 4xCO2forcing. Our analysis reveals a large disagreement across the models as to the sign of this change, even though most models show a statistically significant change. As for the near‐surface response to SSWs, the models, however, are in good agreement as to this signal over the North Atlantic: There is no indication of a change under 4xCO2forcing. Over the Pacific, however, the changemore »is more uncertain, with some indication that there will be a larger mean response. Finally, the models show robust changes to the seasonal cycle in the stratosphere. Specifically, we find a longer duration of the stratospheric polar vortex and thus a longer season of stratosphere‐troposphere coupling.

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  7. Abstract Much of our conceptual understanding of midlatitude atmospheric motion comes from two-layer quasigeostrophic (QG) models. Traditionally, these QG models do not include moisture, which accounts for an estimated 30%–60% of the available energy of the atmosphere. The atmospheric moisture content is expected to increase under global warming, and therefore, a theory for how moisture modifies atmospheric dynamics is crucial. We use a two-layer moist QG model with convective adjustment as a basis for analyzing how latent heat release and large-scale moisture gradients impact the scalings of a midlatitude system at the synoptic scale. In this model, the degree of saturation can be tuned independently of other moist parameters by enforcing a high rate of evaporation from the surface. This allows for study of the effects of latent heat release at saturation, without the intrinsic nonlinearity of precipitation. At saturation, this system is equivalent to the dry QG model under a rescaling of both length and time. This predicts that the most unstable mode shifts to smaller scales, the growth rates increase, and the inverse cascade extends to larger scales. We verify these results numerically and use them to verify a framework for the complete energetics of a moist system.more »We examine the spectral features of the energy transfer terms. This analysis shows that precipitation generates energy at small scales, while dry dynamics drive a significant broadening to larger scales. Cascades of energy are still observed in all terms, albeit without a clearly defined inertial range. Significance Statement The effect of moist processes, especially the impact of latent heating associated with condensation, on the size and strength of midlatitude storms is not well understood. Such insight is particularly needed in the context of global warming, as we expect moisture to play a more important role in a warmer world. In this study, we provide intuition into how including condensation can result in midlatitude storms that grow faster and have features on both larger and smaller scales than their dry counterparts. We provide a framework for quantifying these changes and verify it for the special case where it is raining everywhere. These findings can be extended to the more realistic situation where it is only raining locally.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  8. Abstract An intermediate-complexity moist general circulation model is used to investigate the factors controlling the magnitude of the surface impact from Southern Hemisphere springtime ozone depletion. In contrast to previous idealized studies, a model with full radiation is used; furthermore, the model can be run with a varied representation of the surface, from a zonally uniform aquaplanet to a configuration with realistic stationary waves. The model captures the observed summertime positive Southern Annular Mode response to stratospheric ozone depletion. While synoptic waves dominate the long-term poleward jet shift, the initial response includes changes in planetary waves that simultaneously moderate the polar cap cooling (i.e., a negative feedback) and also constitute nearly one-half of the initial momentum flux response that shifts the jet poleward. The net effect is that stationary waves weaken the circulation response to ozone depletion in both the stratosphere and troposphere and also delay the response until summer rather than spring when ozone depletion peaks. It is also found that Antarctic surface cooling in response to ozone depletion helps to strengthen the poleward shift; however, shortwave surface effects of ozone are not critical. These surface temperature and stationary wave feedbacks are strong enough to overwhelm the previously recognizedmore »jet latitude/persistence feedback, potentially explaining why some recent comprehensive models do not exhibit a clear relationship between jet latitude/persistence and the magnitude of the response to ozone. The jet response is shown to be linear with respect to the magnitude of the imposed stratospheric perturbation, demonstrating the usefulness of interannual variability in ozone depletion for subseasonal forecasting.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 15, 2024
  9. Fujiwara, Masatomo ; Manney, Gloria L. ; Gray, Lesley J. ; Wright, Jonathon S. (Ed.)