Future changes in Major Stratospheric Warmings in CCMI models

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 11:45 AM
212A West Building (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
B. AyarzagŁena, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Berlin, Germany; and U. Langematz, L. M. Polvani, J. Abalichin, H. Akiyoshi, A. Klekociuk, M. Michou, O. Morgenstern, L. D. Oman, and K. Shibata

Major stratospheric warmings (MSWs) are one of the most important phenomena of wintertime Arctic stratospheric variability. They consist of a warming of the Arctic stratosphere and a deceleration of the polar night jet, triggered by an anomalously high injection of tropospheric wave activity into the stratosphere. Due to the relevance and the impact of MSWs on the tropospheric circulation, several model studies have investigated their potential response to climate change. However, a wide range of results has been obtained, extending from a future increase in the frequency of MSWs to a decrease. These discrepancies might be explained by different factors such as a competition of radiative and dynamical contributors with opposite effects on the Arctic polar vortex, biases of models to reproduce the related processes, or the metric chosen for the identification of MSWs.

In this study, future changes in wintertime Arctic stratospheric variability are examined in order to obtain a more precise picture of future changes in the occurrence of MSWs. In particular, transient REF-C2 simulations of different CCMs involved in the Chemistry Climate Model Initiative (CCMI) are used. These simulations extend from 1960 to 2100 and include forcings by halogens and greenhouse gases following the specifications of the CCMI-REF-C2 scenario. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and sea-ice distributions are either prescribed from coupled climate model integrations or calculated internally in the case of fully coupled atmosphere-ocean CCMs. Potential changes in the frequency and main characteristics of MSWs in the future are investigated with special focus on the dependence of the results on the criterion for the identification of MSWs and the tropospheric forcing of these phenomena.

Our preliminary results do not show, in general, a statistically significant future change in the mean frequency of MSWs by using the standard criterion for the identification of MSWs. However, future seasonal changes in the intensity of the polar night jet are found but they differ among model.