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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-495
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-495
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 29 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 29 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

The response of stratospheric water vapor to climate change driven by different forcing agents

Xun Wang and Andrew Emory Dessler Xun Wang and Andrew Emory Dessler
  • Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station,TX,USA

Abstract. We investigate the response of stratospheric water vapor (SWV) to different forcing agents within the Precipitation Driver and Response Model Intercomparison Project (PDRMIP) framework. For each model and forcing agent, we break the SWV response into a slow response, which is coupled to surface temperature changes, and a fast SWV, which is the direct response to external forcing, but without any mediation from the surface temperature. Our results show that, for most climate perturbations, the slow SWV response dominates the fast response. The slow SWV response exhibits a similar sensitivity to surface temperature across all climate perturbations. Specifically, the sensitivity is 0.35 ppmv K−1 in the tropical lower stratosphere (TLS), 2.1 ppmv K−1 in the northern hemispheric lowermost stratosphere (LMS), and 0.97 ppmv K−1 in the southern hemispheric LMS. The fast SWV response only dominates the slow SWV response when the forcing agent radiatively heats the cold point region – for example, black carbon, which directly heats the atmosphere by absorbing solar radiation. The fast SWV response in the TLS is primarily controlled by the fast adjustment of cold point temperature across all climate perturbations. This control becomes weaker at higher altitudes and at higher latitudes below 150 hPa.

Xun Wang and Andrew Emory Dessler

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Xun Wang and Andrew Emory Dessler

Xun Wang and Andrew Emory Dessler

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Latest update: 05 Jul 2020
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Short summary
We investigate the response of stratospheric water vapor (SWV) to different forcing agents, including Greenhouse gases and aerosols, etc. For most forcing agents, the SWV response is dominated by a slow response, which is coupled to surface temperature changes and exhibits a similar sensitivity to the surface temperature across all forcing agents. The fast SWV response, the direct response to forcing, is important when the forcing agent directly heats the cold point region, e.g., black carbon.
We investigate the response of stratospheric water vapor (SWV) to different forcing agents,...
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