Changes in the Brewer-Dobson circulation (BDC) during the 30 years 1980–2009 are investigated using Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) reanalysis data. The mass streamfunction that is induced by wave forcings in the transformed Eulerian-mean (TEM) equation through the downward-control principle is used as a proxy for the BDC. The changes in the BDC are investigated using two aspects: the wave propagation conditions in the stratosphere and the wave activity in the upper troposphere. They are compared in the first (P1) and second (P2) 15-year periods. The resolved wave forcing, expressed by the Eliassen-Palm (EP) flux divergence (EPD), is significantly enhanced during the December-January-February (DJF) season in P2 in both the Northern Hemisphere (NH) high latitudes and the Southern Hemisphere (SH) mid- and high latitudes. The increased zonal mean zonal wind at high latitudes in the SH, caused by ozone depletion, leads to an upward shift of the Rossby-wave critical layer and this allows more transient planetary waves to propagate into the stratosphere. In the NH, the enhanced EPD in DJF leads to an increase in the frequency of Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) events. The gravity wave drag (GWD) is smaller than the EPD and the change in it between the two time periods is insignificant. The residual term in the TEM equation is similar to the GWD in the two periods, but its change between the two periods is as large as the change in the EPD. Among the four components of the EP flux at 250 hPa, the meridional heat flux played a dominant role in the enhancement of the BDC in P2.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science