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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-1281
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-1281
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 14 Jan 2019

Research article | 14 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.

How robust are stratospheric age of air trends from different reanalyses?

Felix Ploeger1,2, Bernard Legras3, Edward Charlesworth1, Xiaolu Yan1, Mohamadou Diallo1, Paul Konopka1, Thomas Birner4, Mengchu Tao1, Andreas Engel5, and Martin Riese1 Felix Ploeger et al.
  • 1Institute for Energy and Climate Research: Stratosphere (IEK–7), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Research, University ofWuppertal,Wuppertal, Germany
  • 3Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, UMR8539, IPSL, UPMC/ENS/CNRS/Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France
  • 4Meteorological Institute, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München,München, Germany
  • 5Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany

Abstract. An accelerating Brewer-Dobson circulation (BDC) is a robust signal of climate change in model predictions but has been questioned by trace gas observations. We analyze stratospheric mean age of air and the full age spectrum as measures for the BDC and its trend. Age of air is calculated with the Chemical Lagrangian Model of the Stratosphere (CLaMS) driven by ERA-Interim, JRA-55 and MERRA-2 reanalysis data to assess the robustness of the representation of the BDC in current generation meteorological reanalyses. We find that climatological mean age significantly depends on the reanalysis, with JRA-55 showing the youngest and MERRA-2 the oldest mean age. Consideration of the age spectrum indicates that the older age for MERRA-2 is related to a stronger spectrum tail, likely related to weaker tropical upwelling and stronger recirculation. Seasonality of stratospheric transport is robustly represented in reanalyses, with similar mean age variations and age spectrum peaks. Long-term changes over 1989–2015 turn out to be similar for the reanalyses with mainly decreasing mean age accompanied by a shift of the age spectrum peak towards shorter transit times, resembling the forced response in climate model simulations to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. For the shorter periods 1989–2001 and 2002–2015 age of air changes are less robust. Only ERA-Interim shows the hemispheric dipole pattern in age changes during 2002–2015 as viewed by recent satellite observations. Consequently, the representation of decadal variability of the BDC in current generation reanalyses appears less robust and a major uncertainty of modelling the BDC.

Felix Ploeger et al.
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Felix Ploeger et al.
Felix Ploeger et al.
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Short summary
We analyze the change in the circulation of the middle atmosphere based on current generation meteorological reanalysis data sets. We find that long-term changes over 1989–2015 turn out to be similar for the reanalyses, mainly resembling the forced response in climate model simulations to climate change. For shorter periods circulation changes are less robust and the representation of decadal variability appears a major uncertainty for modelling the circulation of the middle atmosphere.
We analyze the change in the circulation of the middle atmosphere based on current generation...
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