The whole-atmosphere response to changes in the Earth’s magnetic field from 1900 to 2000: an example of “top-down” vertical coupling

We study the effects of changes in the Earth's magnetic field between 1900 and 2000 on the whole atmosphere (0–500 km altitude), based on simulations with the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model eXtension. Magnetic field changes directly affect the temperature and wind in the upper atmosphere (> ~110 km) via Joule heating and the ion drag force. However, we also find significant responses in zonal mean temperature and zonal wind in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) middle- to high-latitude troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere of up to ±2 K and ±2 m/s, as well as regionally significant changes in Northern Hemisphere (NH) polar surface temperatures of up to ±1.3 K, in December-January-February. In the SH, changes in gravity wave filtering in the thermosphere induce a change in the residual circulation that extends down into the upper mesosphere, where further changes in the mean wind climatology are generated, together with changes in local planetary wave generation and/or amplification and gravity wave filtering. This induces further changes to a residual circulation cell extending down into the troposphere. However, inaccuracies in the simulated SH upper mesospheric wind climatology probably mean that the simulated temperature and wind responses in the SH lower and middle atmosphere are also inaccurate. The NH middle atmosphere response is zonally asymmetric, consisting of a significant change in the positioning and shape of the upper stratospheric polar vortex, which is dynamically consistent with the surface temperature response. However, the downward coupling mechanism in the NH is generally less clear


Publication status:
Authors: Cnossen, Ingrid ORCIDORCID record for Ingrid Cnossen, Liu, Hanli, Lu, Hua ORCIDORCID record for Hua Lu

On this site: Hua Lu, Ingrid Cnossen
1 July, 2016
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres / 121
Link to published article: