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On the Influence of Anthropogenic Forcings on Changes in the Stratospheric Mean AgeA common feature of stratospheric simulations of the past or future is an increase in tropical upwelling and a decrease in mean age. Possible causes or these changes include (1) increases in tropical sea surface temperatures (SSTs) driven by increases in well-mixed greenhouse gases (WMGHGs), (2) the direct radiative effect of increases in WMGHGs, and (3) changes in ozone. Here we examine a suite of simulations from the Goddard Earth Observing System chemistry-climate model (GEOS CCM) to isolate the relative role of these three factors. Our analysis indicates that all three factors cause changes in the mean age, but the relative impact of each factor depends on the time period analyzed. Over the past 30-40 years ozone depletion is the major factor causing the decrease in mean age, with negligible changes due to direct radiative impact of WMGHG's. However, ozone is predicted to recover back to 1970 levels during the next 50-60 years, and this causes an increase in the mean age, whereas the continued increase in SSTs from increased levels of WMGHGs and the direct radiative impact of WMGHGs will still cause a decrease in the mean age. The net impact of these factors will still result in a decreasing mean age although the rate will be smaller than that of the past. The decreases in mean age are primarily caused by increases in upwelling in the tropical lower stratosphere. The increased upwelling from both increased tropical SSTs and polar ozone loss appears to be related to changes in zonal winds and increases in wave activity propagating into the stratosphere. The different contributions of changes in SSTs, WMGHGs, and ozone to the circulation of the stratosphere may help explain the large spread in the rate of change of tropical upwelling seen in previous studies.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Oman, Luke
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Baltimore, MD, United States)
Waugh, Darryn W.
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Baltimore, MD, United States)
Pawson, Steven
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Stolarski, Richard S.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Newman, Paul A.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
February 7, 2009
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 114
Subject Category
Meteorology And Climatology
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