Stratospheric variability contributed to and sustained the recent hiatus in Eurasian winter warming

Chaim I. Garfinkel*, Seok Woo Son, Kanghyun Song, Valentina Aquila, Luke D. Oman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recent hiatus in global-mean surface temperature warming was characterized by a Eurasian winter cooling trend, and the cause(s) for this cooling is unclear. Here we show that the observed hiatus in Eurasian warming was associated with a recent trend toward weakened stratospheric polar vortices. Specifically, by calculating the change in Eurasian surface air temperature associated with a given vortex weakening, we demonstrate that the recent trend toward weakened polar vortices reduced the anticipated Eurasian warming due to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. Those model integrations whose stratospheric vortex evolution most closely matches that in reanalysis data also simulate a hiatus. While it is unclear whether the recent weakening of the midwinter stratospheric polar vortex was forced, a properly configured model can simulate substantial deviations of the polar vortex on decadal timescales and hence such hiatus events, implying that similar hiatus events may recur even as greenhouse gas concentrations rise.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)374-382
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2017. The Authors.

Keywords

  • Eurasian temperature
  • hiatus
  • stratosphere-troposphere coupling

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