The Influence of Atmospheric Cloud Radiative Effects on the Large-Scale Stratospheric Circulation

Ying Li, David W. J. Thompson, Yi Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies have explored the influence of atmospheric cloud radiative effects (ACRE) on the tropospheric circulation. Here the authors explore the influence of ACRE on the stratospheric circulation. The response of the stratospheric circulation to ACRE is assessed by comparing simulations run with and without ACRE. The stratospheric circulation response to ACRE is reproducible in a range of different GCMs and can be interpreted in the context of both a dynamically driven and a radiatively driven component.

The dynamic component is linked to ACRE-induced changes in the vertical and meridional fluxes of wave activity. The ACRE-induced changes in the vertical flux of wave activity into the stratosphere are consistent with the ACRE-induced changes in tropospheric baroclinicity and thus the amplitude of midlatitude baroclinic eddies. They account for a strengthening of the Brewer–Dobson circulation, a cooling of the tropical lower stratosphere, a weakening and warming of the polar vortex, a reduction of static stability near the tropical tropopause transition layer, and a shortening of the time scale of extratropical stratospheric variability. The ACRE-induced changes in the equatorward flux of wave activity in the low-latitude stratosphere account for a strengthening of the zonal wind in the subtropical lower to midstratosphere.

The radiative component is linked to ACRE-induced changes in the flux of longwave radiation into the lower stratosphere. The changes in radiative fluxes lead to a cooling of the extratropical lower stratosphere, changes in the static stability and cloud fraction near the extratropical tropopause, and a shortening of the time scales of extratropical stratospheric variability.

The results highlight a previously overlooked pathway through which tropospheric climate influences the stratosphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5621–5635
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume30
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

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