Effect of recent sea surface temperature trends on the Arctic stratospheric vortex

C. I. Garfinkel*, M. M. Hurwitz, L. D. Oman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Comprehensive chemistry-climate model experiments and observational data are used to show that up to half of the satellite era early springtime cooling trend in the Arctic lower stratosphere was caused by changing sea surface temperatures (SSTs). An ensemble of experiments forced only by changing SSTs is compared to an ensemble of experiments in which both the observed SSTs and chemically and radiatively active trace species are changing. By comparing the two ensembles, it is shown that warming of Indian Ocean, North Pacific, and North Atlantic SSTs and cooling of the tropical Pacific have strongly contributed to recent polar stratospheric cooling in late winter and early spring. When concentrations of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases are fixed, polar ozone concentrations show a small but robust decline due to changing SSTs. Ozone loss is larger in the presence of changing concentrations of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases. The stratospheric changes can be understood by examining the tropospheric height and heat flux anomalies generated by the anomalous SSTs. Finally, recent SST changes have contributed to a decrease in the frequency of late winter stratospheric sudden warmings.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5404-5416
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume120
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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