Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3066
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3066
04 Jan 2024
 | 04 Jan 2024

Circulation responses to surface heating and implications for polar amplification

Peter Yu Feng Siew, Camille Li, Stefan Pieter Sobolowski, Etienne Dunn-Sigouin, and Mingfang Ting

Abstract. A seminal study by Hoskins and Karoly (1981) explored the atmospheric circulation response to tropospheric heating perturbations at low and mid latitudes. Here we revisit and extend their study by investigating the circulation and temperature response to low, mid and high latitude surface heating using an idealised moist, gray radiation model. Our results corroborate previous findings showing that heating perturbations at low and mid latitudes are balanced by different mean circulation responses - upward motion and horizontal temperature advection, respectively. Transient eddy heat flux divergence plays an increasingly important role with latitude, becoming the main circulation response at high latitudes. However, this mechanism is less efficient at balancing heating perturbations than temperature advection, leading to greater reliance on an additional contribution from radiative cooling. These dynamical and radiative adjustments promote stronger lower tropospheric warming for surface heating at high latitudes compared with lower latitudes, suggesting a mechanism by which sea ice loss promotes a polar-amplified temperature signal of climate change.

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Peter Yu Feng Siew, Camille Li, Stefan Pieter Sobolowski, Etienne Dunn-Sigouin, and Mingfang Ting

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3066', Osamu Miyawaki, 16 Jan 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3066', Anonymous Referee #2, 01 Feb 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3066', Anonymous Referee #3, 14 Feb 2024
  • AC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3066', Peter Yu Feng Siew, 15 Mar 2024
Peter Yu Feng Siew, Camille Li, Stefan Pieter Sobolowski, Etienne Dunn-Sigouin, and Mingfang Ting
Peter Yu Feng Siew, Camille Li, Stefan Pieter Sobolowski, Etienne Dunn-Sigouin, and Mingfang Ting

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Short summary
The atmospheric circulation response to surface heating at various latitudes was investigated within an idealized framework. We confirm previous results on the importance of temperature advection for balancing heating at lower latitudes. Further poleward, transient eddies become increasingly important and, eventually, radiative cooling also contributes. This promotes amplified surface warming for high-latitude heating, and has implications for links between sea ice loss and polar amplification.