Polar climate change as manifest in atmospheric circulation

Purpose of Review Dynamic manifestations of climate change, i.e. those related to circulation, are less well understood than are thermodynamic, or temperature-related aspects. However, this knowledge gap is narrowing. We review recent progress in understanding the causes of observed changes in polar tropospheric and stratospheric circulation, and in interpreting climate model projections of their future changes. Recent Findings Trends in the annular modes reflect the influences of multiple drivers. In the Northern Hemisphere, there appears to be a "tug-of-war" between the opposing effects of Arctic near-surface warming and tropical upper tropospheric warming, two predominant features of the atmospheric response to increasing greenhouse gases. Future trends in the Southern Hemisphere largely depend on the competing effects of stratospheric ozone recovery and increasing greenhouse gases. Summary Human influence on the Antarctic circulation is detectable in the strengthening of the stratospheric polar vortex and the poleward shift of the tropospheric westerly winds. Observed Arctic circulation changes cannot be confidently separated from internal atmospheric variability.


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Authors: Screen, James A., Bracegirdle, Thomas J. ORCIDORCID record for Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Simmonds, I.

On this site: Thomas Bracegirdle
1 December, 2018
Current Climate Change Reports / 4
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