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On the lack of stratospheric dynamical variability in low-top versions of the CMIP5 models

Charlton-Perez, A., Baldwin, M. P., Birner, T., Black, R. X., Butler, A. H., Calvo, N., Davis, N. A., Gerber, E. P., Gillett, N., Hardiman, S., Kim, J., Krüger, K., Lee, Y.-Y., Manzini, E., McDaniel, B. A., Polvani, L., Reichler, T., Shaw, T. A., Sigmond, M., Son, S.-W., Toohey, M., Wilcox, L., Yoden, S., Christiansen, B., Lott, F., Shindell, D., Yukimoto, S. and Watanabe, S. (2013) On the lack of stratospheric dynamical variability in low-top versions of the CMIP5 models. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118 (6). pp. 2494-2505. ISSN 2169-8996

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50125

Abstract/Summary

We describe the main differences in simulations of stratospheric climate and variability by models within the fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) that have a model top above the stratopause and relatively fine stratospheric vertical resolution (high-top), and those that have a model top below the stratopause (low-top). Although the simulation of mean stratospheric climate by the two model ensembles is similar, the low-top model ensemble has very weak stratospheric variability on daily and interannual time scales. The frequency of major sudden stratospheric warming events is strongly underestimated by the low-top models with less than half the frequency of events observed in the reanalysis data and high-top models. The lack of stratospheric variability in the low-top models affects their stratosphere-troposphere coupling, resulting in short-lived anomalies in the Northern Annular Mode, which do not produce long-lasting tropospheric impacts, as seen in observations. The lack of stratospheric variability, however, does not appear to have any impact on the ability of the low-top models to reproduce past stratospheric temperature trends. We find little improvement in the simulation of decadal variability for the high-top models compared to the low-top, which is likely related to the fact that neither ensemble produces a realistic dynamical response to volcanic eruptions.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:34204
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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