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Impact of climate change on stratospheric sudden warmings as simulated by the Canadian middle atmosphere model

McLandress, C. and Shepherd, T. G. (2009) Impact of climate change on stratospheric sudden warmings as simulated by the Canadian middle atmosphere model. Journal of Climate, 22 (20). pp. 5449-5463. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/2009JCLI3069.1

Abstract/Summary

The dynamics of Northern Hemisphere major midwinter stratospheric sudden warmings (SSWs) are examined using transient climate change simulations from the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM). The simulated SSWs show good overall agreement with reanalysis data in terms of composite structure, statistics, and frequency. Using observed or model sea surface temperatures (SSTs) is found to make no significant difference to the SSWs, indicating that the use of model SSTs in the simulations extending into the future is not an issue. When SSWs are defined by the standard (wind based) definition, an absolute criterion, their frequency is found to increase by;60% by the end of this century, in conjunction with a;25% decrease in their temperature amplitude. However, when a relative criterion based on the northern annular mode index is used to define the SSWs, no future increase in frequency is found. The latter is consistent with the fact that the variance of 100-hPa daily heat flux anomalies is unaffected by climate change. The future increase in frequency of SSWs using the standard method is a result of the weakened climatological mean winds resulting from climate change, which make it easier for the SSW criterion to be met. A comparison of winters with and without SSWs reveals that the weakening of the climatological westerlies is not a result of SSWs. The Brewer–Dobson circulation is found to be stronger by ;10% during winters with SSWs, which is a value that does not change significantly in the future.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:32033
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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