Abrupt transitions in an atmospheric single-column model with weak temperature gradient approximation [post]

Benjamin A. Stephens, Charles S. Jackson
2020 unpublished
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> We document a feature of the tropical atmosphere that could be relevant to episodes of abrupt transitions in global climate that regularly occurred during the last ice age. Using a single-column model incorporating the weak temperature gradient (WTG) approximation, we find that abrupt transitions occur as the sea surface temperature is steadily increased. Because these transitions arise from the interplay of scales between local deep convection
more » ... the large-scale adjustments that are required to maintain weak temperature and pressure gradients, they are only present with the WTG approximation relevant for the tropics but may be of interest as a trigger for abrupt transitions in global climate. These transitions are marked by an abrupt change in the partitioning of rainfall between convective and large-scale (microphysics) subroutines, in addition to various other features of the column including cloudiness, vertical velocity, temperature, and humidity. We conclude that the transitions are initiated by a failure of evaporative cooling in the lower free troposphere. This leads to lower-column heating and a burst of convection that heats the upper free troposphere, increasing the large-scale rainfall rate and re-stabilizing the lower-column evaporative cooling.</p>
doi:10.5194/wcd-2020-10 fatcat:zxmk5dfwhnhuvbmoyl7jctmifa