24 Jul 2023
 | 24 Jul 2023

Replicating the Hadley Cell and subtropical jet disconnect in idealized atmospheric models

Molly E. Menzel, Darryn W. Waugh, Zheng Wu, and Thomas Reichler

Abstract. Recent work has shown that variability of the subtropical jet's (STJ) latitude, ΦSTJ is not coupled to that of the Hadley Cell (HC) edge, ΦHC, but the robustness of this disconnect has not been examined in detail. Here, we use meteorological reanalysis, comprehensive climate models, and an idealized atmospheric model to determine the necessary processes for a ΦHC and ΦSTJ disconnect. We find that a decoupling can occur in a dry general circulation model, indicating that large-scale dynamical processes are sufficient to reproduce the metrics' relationship. It is therefore not reliant on explicit variability in the zonal structure, convection, or radiation. Rather, the disconnect requires a sufficiently accurate climatological basic state. Further, we confirm that the robust disconnect between ΦSTJ and ΦHC across the model hierarchy reveals the features' differing sensitivities to midlatitude eddy momentum fluxes; ΦHC is consistently coupled to the latitude of maximum eddy momentum flux but the ΦSTJ is not.

Molly E. Menzel et al.

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Molly E. Menzel et al.

Molly E. Menzel et al.


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Short summary
Recent work exploring tropical atmospheric circulation response climate change has revealed that the latitudinal location of two features, the subtropical jet and the Hadley Cell edge, do not co-vary. Here, we investigate if such a disconnect found from coupled climate model and meteorological reanalysis output is robust across model complexity.