Downward wave reflection as a mechanism for the stratosphere-troposphere response to the 11-year Solar Cycle

The effects of solar activity on the stratospheric waveguides and downward reflection of planetary waves during northern early to mid- winter are examined. Under high solar (HS) conditions enhanced westerly winds in the subtropical upper stratosphere and the associated changes in the zonal wind curvature led to an altered waveguide geometry across the winter period in the upper stratosphere. In particular, the condition for barotropic instability was more frequently met at 1 hPa near the polar night jet centred at ~55°N. In early winter the corresponding change in wave forcing was characterized by a vertical dipole pattern of the Eliassen-Palm (E-P) flux divergent anomalies in the high-latitude upper stratosphere accompanied by poleward E-P flux anomalies. These wave forcing anomalies corresponded with negative vertical shear of zonal mean winds and the formation of a vertical reflecting surface. Enhanced downward E-P flux anomalies appeared below the negative shear zone; they coincided with more frequent occurrence of negative daily heat fluxes and associated with eastward acceleration and downward group velocity. These downward reflected wave anomalies had a detectable effect on the vertical structure of planetary waves during November to January. The associated changes in tropospheric geopotential height contributed to a more positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation in January and February. These results suggest that downward reflection may act as a ‘top-down’ pathway by which the effects of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the upper stratosphere can be transmitted to the troposphere.


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Authors: Lu, Hua ORCIDORCID record for Hua Lu, Scaife, Adam A., Marshall, Gareth J. ORCIDORCID record for Gareth J. Marshall, Turner, John ORCIDORCID record for John Turner, Gray, Lesley J.

On this site: Gareth Marshall, Hua Lu, John Turner
1 April, 2017
Journal of Climate / 30
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