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AGU: Journal of Geophysical Research, Atmospheres


Index Terms

  • 3319 - General circulation
  • 3305 - Climate change and variability
  • 3363 - Stratospheric dynamics
  • 0341 - Middle atmosphere: constituent transport and chemistry
  • 1626 - Global climate models

Paper in Press


Changes in various branches of the Brewer-Dobson circulation from an ensemble of chemistry climate models

Key Points
  • Consistent Brewer-Dobson circulation acceleration in chemistry climate models
  • Stronger acceleration in the shallow branch than the deep branch
  • Ozone's effect is manifested in the southern deep branch during austral summer


Pu Lin

Qiang Fu

We analyzed the changes of simulated Brewer-Dobson circulation (BDC) for 1960-2099 from twelve chemistry climate models participating the Chemistry-Climate Model Validation activity phase 2 (CCMVal-2). We decomposed the BDC into transition, shallow and deep branches with vertical extent of 100-70 hPa, 70-30 hPa and above 30 hPa, respectively. Models consistently simulate the acceleration in all three BDC branches over the 140 years, but the acceleration rate of the deep branches is much smaller. The acceleration rate of the transition and shallow branches in general shows weak seasonal or hemispheric dependence, and increases with time, consistent with the continuous and homogeneous increase of greenhouse gas concentrations. The trend magnitudes of shallow and transition branches differ from model to model, which are found to be associated with the simulated changes in subtropical jets and tropical upper tropospheric temperature. The acceleration of the deep branch is also a response to the increase of greenhouse gas concentrations but is modulated by the changes in ozone concentrations. The effect of ozone changes is particularly prominent in the southern deep branch during austral summer: almost all models simulated strong significant acceleration during the ozone depletion era, weak deceleration during the ozone recovery era and near-zero trends during the stable ozone era. However, the ozone effect is less evident in other seasons and in other branches.

Received 07 September 2012; accepted 26 November 2012.

Citation: Lin, P. and Q. Fu (2012), Changes in various branches of the Brewer-Dobson circulation from an ensemble of chemistry climate models, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JD018813, in press.