Recent stratospheric climate trends as evidenced in radiosonde data: Global structure and tropospheric linkages

David W. J. Thompson, Susan Solomon

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The global structure of recent stratospheric climate trends is examined in radiosonde data. In contrast to conclusions published in previous assessments of stratospheric temperature trends, it is demonstrated that in the annual mean the tropical stratosphere has cooled substantially over the past few decades. The cooling of the tropical stratosphere is apparent in both nighttime and adjusted radiosonde data, and seems to be robust to changes in radiosonde instrumentation. The meridional structure of the annual-mean stratospheric trends is not consistent with our current understanding of radiative transfer and constituent trends but is consistent with increased upwelling in the tropical stratosphere.

The annual-mean cooling of the tropical stratosphere is juxtaposed against seasonally varying trends in the extratropical stratosphere dominated by the well-known springtime cooling at polar latitudes. The polar stratospheric trends are accompanied by similarly signed trends at tropospheric levels in the Southern Hemisphere but not in the Northern Hemisphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4785–4795
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2005

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