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Vertical structure of anthropogenic zonal-mean atmospheric circulation change

Woollings, T. J. (2008) Vertical structure of anthropogenic zonal-mean atmospheric circulation change. Geophysical Research Letters, 35 (19). L19702. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2008GL034883


The atmospheric circulation changes predicted by climate models are often described using sea level pressure, which generally shows a strengthening of the mid-latitude westerlies. Recent observed variability is dominated by the Northern Annular Mode (NAM) which is equivalent barotropic, so that wind variations of the same sign are seen at all levels. However, in model predictions of the response to anthropogenic forcing, there is a well-known enhanced warming at low levels over the northern polar cap in winter. This means that there is a strong baroclinic component to the response. The projection of the response onto a NAM-like zonal index varies with height. While at the surface most models project positively onto the zonal index, throughout most of the depth of the troposphere many of the models give negative projections. The response to anthropogenic forcing therefore has a distinctive baroclinic signature which is very different to the NAM

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:1193
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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