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Stratospheric water vapor affecting atmospheric circulation

Charlesworth, Edward and Plöger, Felix and Birner, Thomas and Baikhadzhaev, Rasul and Abalos, Marta and Abraham, Nathan Luke and Akiyoshi, Hideharu and Bekki, Slimane and Dennison, Fraser and Jöckel, Patrick and Keeble, James and Kinnison, Doug and Morgenstern, Olaf and Plummer, David and Rozanov, Eugene and Strode, Sarah and Zeng, Guang and Egorova, Tatiana and Riese, Martin (2023) Stratospheric water vapor affecting atmospheric circulation. Nature Communications, 14 (1), p. 3925. Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-39559-2. ISSN 2041-1723.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-39559-2


Water vapor plays an important role in many aspects of the climate system, by affecting radiation, cloud formation, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics. Even the low stratospheric water vapor content provides an important climate feedback, but current climate models show a substantial moist bias in the lowermost stratosphere. Here we report crucial sensitivity of the atmospheric circulation in the stratosphere and troposphere to the abundance of water vapor in the lowermost stratosphere. We show from a mechanistic climate model experiment and inter-model variability that lowermost stratospheric water vapor decreases local temperatures, and thereby causes an upward and poleward shift of subtropical jets, a strengthening of the stratospheric circulation, a poleward shift of the tropospheric eddy-driven jet and regional climate impacts. The mechanistic model experiment in combination with atmospheric observations further shows that the prevailing moist bias in current models is likely caused by the transport scheme, and can be alleviated by employing a less diffusive Lagrangian scheme. The related effects on atmospheric circulation are of similar magnitude as climate change effects. Hence, lowermost stratospheric water vapor exerts a first order effect on atmospheric circulation and improving its representation in models offers promising prospects for future research.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/195834/
Document Type:Article
Title:Stratospheric water vapor affecting atmospheric circulation
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Charlesworth, EdwardFZ Jülich, Jülich, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Plöger, FelixIFZ Jülich, Jülich, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Baikhadzhaev, RasulFZ Jülich, Jülich, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Abalos, MartaUniversidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, SpainUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Abraham, Nathan LukeUniversity of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Akiyoshi, HideharuNational Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Dennison, FraserCSIRO Environment, Aspendale, VIC, Australia.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Jöckel, PatrickDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8964-1394UNSPECIFIED
Keeble, JamesUniversity of Cambridge, Cambridge, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Morgenstern, OlafNational Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New ZealandUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Plummer, DavidClimate Research Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Montreal, Canada.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Rozanov, EugenePhysikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium, Davos World Radiation Center, Davos Dorf, SwitzerlandUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Strode, SarahMorgan State University, Baltimore, MD 21251, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Zeng, GuangNational Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New ZealandUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Egorova, TatianaPhysikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium, Davos World Radiation Center, Davos Dorf, Switzerland.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Riese, MartinFZ Jülich, Jülich, GermanyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:3 July 2023
Journal or Publication Title:Nature Communications
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:p. 3925
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Keywords:water vapor, dynamics, Earth System Modelling, EMAC, circulation, MESSy
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Atmospheric and climate research
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Earth System Modelling
Deposited By: Jöckel, Dr. Patrick
Deposited On:10 Jul 2023 08:31
Last Modified:10 Jul 2023 08:31

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