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Understanding the variation of stratosphere–troposphere coupling during stratospheric northern annular mode events from a mass circulation perspective

Abstract

We revisit the various stratosphere–troposphere coupling relation from the perspective of the meridional mass circulation. We constructed 10-hPa northern annular mode (NAM) phase composites to show the typical spatiotemporal evolution of circulation anomalies during the NAM’s life cycle. Our results indicate that there is large case-to-case difference in the temporal evolution and vertical profile of polar temperature anomalies during NAM events, which shows no strong dependence on the intensity and duration of NAM events, but agrees well with the variations of the three branches of mass circulation at 60°N: the stratospheric poleward warm air branch (ST), the poleward warm air branch in the upper troposphere (WB), and the equatorward cold air branch in the lower troposphere (CB). Such correspondence is due to the dynamic heating and cooling anomalies associated with the redistribution of air masses by the anomalous meridional mass circulation in different isentropic layers. The various relationship among the three mass circulation branches is attributed to anomalous wave activities. The amplitude and westward tilt of waves are always stronger (weaker) throughout the stratosphere before (after) the peak time of negative NAM events, leading to a stronger (weaker) ST before (after) the peak time. Variations in WB and CB are mostly dependent on wave variabilities in the mid- to lower troposphere, leading to variations in the timing of in- or out-of-phase coupling of the ST with the WB and CB, and thus various thermostructure during NAM events. At a later stage of the negative NAM events when the polar temperature becomes colder and the polar jet recovers, the weakened baroclinic instability in the lower stratosphere provides favorable conditions for the strengthening of the WB and CB if wave activities strengthen in the troposphere during that period.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Grants from the National Science Foundation of China (41705039, 41575041), the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA17010105), the Startup Foundation for Introducing Talent of NUIST (2017r068), and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD). The ERA-Interim datasets used in this work are available from the ECMWF (http://www.ecmwf.int).

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Yu, Y., Ren, R. Understanding the variation of stratosphere–troposphere coupling during stratospheric northern annular mode events from a mass circulation perspective. Clim Dyn 53, 5141–5164 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-019-04675-7

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