Climate Dynamics

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 2089-2097

First online:

Climate change projections and stratosphere–troposphere interaction

  • Adam A. ScaifeAffiliated withMet Office Hadley Centre Email author 
  • , Thomas SpangehlAffiliated withFreie Universitaet Berlin
  • , David R. FeredayAffiliated withMet Office Hadley Centre
  • , Ulrich CubaschAffiliated withFreie Universitaet Berlin
  • , Ulrike LangematzAffiliated withFreie Universitaet Berlin
  • , Hideharu AkiyoshiAffiliated withNational Institute for Environmental Studies
  • , Slimane BekkiAffiliated withLATMOS-IPSL, UVSQ, UPMC, CNRS/INSU
  • , Peter BraesickeAffiliated withUniversity of Cambridge
  • , Neal ButchartAffiliated withMet Office Hadley Centre
    • , Martyn P. ChipperfieldAffiliated withSchool of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds
    • , Andrew GettelmanAffiliated withNational Center for Atmospheric Research
    • , Steven C. HardimanAffiliated withMet Office Hadley Centre
    • , Martine MichouAffiliated withGAME/CNRM (Meteo France, CNRS)
    • , Eugene RozanovAffiliated withPMOD/WRC and ETHZ
    • , Theodore G. ShepherdAffiliated withUniversity of Toronto

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Climate change is expected to increase winter rainfall and flooding in many extratropical regions as evaporation and precipitation rates increase, storms become more intense and storm tracks move polewards. Here, we show how changes in stratospheric circulation could play a significant role in future climate change in the extratropics through an additional shift in the tropospheric circulation. This shift in the circulation alters climate change in regional winter rainfall by an amount large enough to significantly alter regional climate change projections. The changes are consistent with changes in stratospheric winds inducing a change in the baroclinic eddy growth rate across the depth of the troposphere. A change in mean wind structure and an equatorward shift of the tropospheric storm tracks relative to models with poor stratospheric resolution allows coupling with surface climate. Using the Atlantic storm track as an example, we show how this can double the predicted increase in extreme winter rainfall over Western and Central Europe compared to other current climate projections.


Climate change Europe Stratosphere Storm track