Stratospheric influence on tropospheric climate change in the Northern Hemisphere



[1] The role of the stratosphere in tropospheric climate response to increased concentrations of the greenhouse gases during Northern Hemisphere winter is addressed by performing and analyzing a set of simulations with the atmosphere general circulation model ECHAM5. Attention is paid to the difference in the response to doubled CO2 concentration and associated sea surface temperature and sea ice concentration anomaly between a low-top and a stratosphere-resolving model version. We find a larger decrease of the Arctic sea level pressure in late winter in the low-top model when compared to the stratosphere-resolving one. Such dependence of the response on the representation of the stratosphere is consistent with previous multimodel results, indicating that the difference is likely robust across different models. The different response of the tropospheric circulation may have important climatic consequences; for example, we demonstrate a different precipitation response over Europe in these experiments. The different tropospheric response is shown to originate from different response in the polar stratosphere which is attributable to a stronger Brewer-Dobson circulation response in the stratosphere-resolving model. A decomposition of the Brewer-Dobson circulation response to contributions from resolved and parameterized processes show that both contribute toward the stronger downwelling response in the polar stratosphere in the stratosphere-resolving model. Additional sensitivity experiments reveal that the magnitude of the Arctic sea level pressure response, but not the difference between the stratosphere-resolving and low-top model responses, depends on the magnitude of SST anomaly in the tropical Pacific.