DOI: 10.1029/2023jd039866 ISSN: 2169-897X

A CMIP6 Analysis of Past and Future Arctic Winter Stratospheric Temperature Trends

Kevin Bloxam, Yi Huang
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics


Reanalysis data reveal a weak warming trend in the midwinter Arctic stratosphere, contrary to the cooling expectation based on the greenhouse gas effect. This trend is also influenced by the occurrence of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs). Using Phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) we investigate temperature trends over a similar timescale as ERA5 and find that CMIP6 models can replicate the positive midwinter temperature trend in the mid‐lower stratosphere. However, when considering the multi‐model mean, this positive temperature trend is much weaker than ERA5. Extrapolating to the future, we find that the SSW‐driven positive temperature trend will likely not continue in the future based on the SSP2‐4.5 and SSP5‐8.5 climate scenarios. Instead, the models project there will be widespread cooling throughout the Arctic winter stratosphere regardless of the occurrence of SSWs. Using a subsample of CMIP6 models which replicate the seasonality of the Arctic winter stratosphere most similarly to that of ERA5, we also find that the zonal wind strength during SSWs correlates the most with the temperature trends found there. However, trends in the zonal wind strength alone cannot account for the observed temperature trends among the CMIP6 models.

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