Long-Term Trends of the Atmospheric Circulation and Moist Static Energy Budget in the JRA-55 Reanalysis

Christian L.E. Franzke*, Nili Harnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The atmospheric circulation response to global warming is an important problem that is theoretically still not well understood. This is a particular issue since climate model simulations provide uncertain, and at times contradictory, projections of future climate. In particular, it is still unclear how a warmer and moister atmosphere will affect midlatitude eddies and their associated poleward transport of heat and moisture. Here we perform a trend analysis of three main components of the global circulation}the zonal-mean state, eddies, and the net energy input into the atmosphere}and examine how they relate in terms of a moist static energy budget for the JRA-55 reanalysis data. A particular emphasis is made on understanding the contribution of moisture to circulation trends. The observed trends are very different between the hemispheres. In the Southern Hemisphere there is an overall strengthening and during boreal summer, also a poleward shifting, of the jet stream, the eddies, and the meridional diabatic heating gradients. Correspondingly, we find an overall strengthening of the meridional gradients of the net atmospheric energy input. In the Northern Hemisphere, the trend patterns are more complex, with the dominant signal being a clear boreal winter Arctic amplification of positive trends in lower-tropospheric temperature and moisture, as well as a significant weakening of both bandpass and low-pass eddy heat and moisture fluxes. Consistently, surface latent and sensible heat fluxes, upward and downward longwave radiation, and longwave cloud radiative fluxes at high latitudes show significant trends. However, radiative fluxes and eddy fluxes are inconsistent, suggesting data assimilation procedures need to be improved. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: We use a long-term reanalysis dataset to get an overall view of the changes in the global circulation and its role in transporting moist static energy from the equator to the poles. We do this by examining the trends in its three main components}the zonal means, the eddies, and the net energy input into the atmosphere. We find that in the Southern Hemisphere, there is an overall strengthening of the eddies, their poleward energy fluxes, and correspondingly the meridional gradients of the net atmospheric energy input. In the Northern Hemisphere, though the pattern is more complex, there is an overall weakening of the eddies and poleward eddy fluxes, and of the meridional gradients of the net atmospheric energy input, consistent with Arctic warming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2959-2984
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume36
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2023

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1685/17
Institute for Basic ScienceIBS-R028-D1

    Keywords

    • Anthropogenic effects/forcing
    • Atmospheric circulation
    • Climate change
    • Climate variability
    • Energy budget/balance
    • Trends

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