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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  10 Sep 2020

10 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Influence of ENSO on entry stratospheric water vapor in coupled chemistry-ocean CCMI and CMIP6 models

Chaim Israel Garfinkel1, Ohad Harari1, Shlomi Ziskin1,2,3, Jian Rao1,4, Olaf Morgenstern5, Guang Zeng5, Simone Tilmes6, Doug Kinnison6, Fiona M. O'Connor7, Neal Butchart7, Makoto Deushi8, Patrick Jöckel9, and Andrea Pozzer10,11 Chaim Israel Garfinkel et al.
  • 1The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2Department of Physics, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel
  • 3Eastern R&D center, Ariel, Israel
  • 4Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education (KLME)/Joint International Research Laboratory of Climate and Environment Change (ILCEC)/Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters (CIC-FEMD), Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 5National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 6National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 7Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
  • 8Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan
  • 9Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 10Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 11International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy

Abstract. The connection between the dominant mode of interannual variability in the tropical troposphere, El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and entry of stratospheric water vapor, is analyzed in a set of the model simulations archived for the Chemistry-Climate Model Initiative (CCMI) project and for phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. While the models agree on the temperature response to ENSO in the tropical troposphere and lower stratosphere, and all models also agree on the zonal structure of the response in the tropical tropopause layer, the only aspect of the entry water vapor with consensus is that La Nina leads to moistening in winter relative to neutral ENSO. For El Nino and for other seasons there are significant differences among the models. For example, some models find that the enhanced water vapor for La Nina in the winter of the event reverses in spring and summer, other models find that this moistening persists, while some show a nonlinear response with both El Nino and La Nina leading to enhanced water vapor in both winter, spring, and summer. Focusing on Central Pacific ENSO versus East Pacific ENSO, or temperatures in the mid-troposphere as compared to temperatures near the surface, does not narrow the inter-model discrepancies. Despite this diversity in response, the temperature response near the cold point can explain the response of water vapor when each model is considered separately. While the observational record is too short to fully constrain the response to ENSO, it is clear that most models suffer from biases in the magnitude of interannual variability of entry water vapor. This bias could be due to missing forcing processes that contribute to observed variability in cold point temperatures.

Chaim Israel Garfinkel et al.

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Chaim Israel Garfinkel et al.

Chaim Israel Garfinkel et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, and the dominant mode of variability in the ocean-atmosphere system is El Nino. The connection between El Nino and water vapor above ~17km is unclear, with single model studies reaching a range of conclusions. This study examines this connection in 12 different models. While there are substantial differences among the models, all models appear to capture the fundamental physical processes correctly.
Water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, and the dominant mode of...