10.4 Simulated anthropogenic changes in the Brewer-Dobson circulation, including its extension to high latitudes

Thursday, 11 June 2009: 11:20 AM
Charles McLandress, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; and T. G. Shepherd

Recent studies using comprehensive middle atmosphere models predict a strengthening of the Brewer-Dobson circulation in response to climate change. To gain confidence in the realism of this result it is important to quantify and understand the contributions from the different components of stratospheric wave drag that cause this increase. Such an analysis is performed here using three 150-year transient simulations from the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM), a chemistry-climate model that simulates climate change and ozone depletion and recovery. Resolved wave drag and parameterized orographic gravity wave drag account for 60% and 40%, respectively, of the long-term trend in annual mean net upward mass flux at 70 hPa, with planetary waves accounting for 60% of the resolved wave drag trend. Synoptic wave drag has the strongest impact in northern winter, where it accounts for nearly as much of the upward mass flux trend as planetary wave drag. Due to differences in the latitudinal structure of the wave drag changes, the relative contribution of resolved and parameterized wave drag to the tropical upward mass flux trend over any particular latitude range is highly sensitive to the range of latitudes considered. An examination of the latitudinal and vertical structure of the climate-change response reveals no straightforward connection between the low-latitude and high-latitude changes: while the model results show an increase in Arctic downwelling in winter, they also show a decrease in Antarctic downwelling in spring. Both changes are attributed to changes in the flux of stationary planetary wave activity into the stratosphere.
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