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Midlatitude Static Stability and Tropopause Height

PI: Dargan Frierson
Institution: UCAR/University of Chicago
I will study changes in midlatitude static stability and tropopause height in global warming scenarios. Recently we have found that the static stability in an idealized general circulation model is controlled by the moisture content of the atmosphere, even in the midlatitudes (Frierson, Held and Zurita-Gotor, in press, Journal of Atmospheric Sciences). The AR4 simulations will be the perfect setting to investigate whether the theory we have used to interpret the static stability changes in the simple model is applicable in climate change scenarios. Closely linked to the determination of the static stability of the atmosphere is the tropopause height. In our idealized model, the tropopause height in midlatitudes increases along with the static stability, as predicted in simple theories (Held 1982). We will investigate first whether a similar increase in tropopause height can be seen robustly in the AR4 simulations. If this increase can be seen, we will investigate whether the change in static stability is important, or whether other effects such as stratospheric cooling are dominant.
  • Frierson, D.M.W., 2006: Robust Increases in Midlatitude Static Stability in Global Warming Simulations. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L24816, doi:10.1029/2006GL027504. Abstract. Full Article. Edit.

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