Disclaimer: This material is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers. Visit https://espo.nasa.gov for information about our current projects.


Evaluating the advective Brewer-Dobson circulation in three reanalyses for the...

Abalos, M., B. Legras, F. Ploeger, and W. Randel (2015), Evaluating the advective Brewer-Dobson circulation in three reanalyses for the period 1979–2012, J. Geophys. Res., 120, doi:10.1002/2015JD023182.

Most chemistry-climate models show an intensification of the Brewer-Dobson circulation (BDC) in the stratosphere associated with increasing greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion in the last decades, but this trend remains to be confirmed in observational data. In this work the evolution of the advective BDC for the period 1979–2012 is evaluated and compared in three modern reanalyses (ERA-Interim, MERRA, and JRA-55). Three different estimates of the BDC are computed for each reanalysis, one based on the definition of the residual circulation and two indirect estimates derived from momentum and thermodynamic balances. The comparison among the nine estimates shows substantial uncertainty in the mean magnitude (∼40%) but significant common variability. The tropical upwelling series show variability linked to the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation and to El Niño– Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and also reflect extreme events such as major sudden stratospheric warmings and volcanic eruptions. The trend analysis suggests a strengthening of tropical upwelling of around 2–5%/decade throughout the layer 100–10 hPa. The global spatial structure of the BDC trends provides evidence of an overall acceleration of the circulation in both hemispheres, with qualitative agreement among the estimates. The global BDC trends are mainly linked to changes in the boreal winter season and can be tracked to long-term increases in the resolved wave drag in both hemispheres.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.
Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)