Ozone-induced climate change propped up by the Southern Hemisphere oceanic front
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Geophysical Institute 
Original versionGeophysical Research Letters 2015, 42:10056-10063 https://doi.org/10.1002/2015gl066538
The late twentieth century was marked by a significant summertime trend in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), the dominant mode of tropospheric variability in the extratropical Southern Hemisphere (SH). This trend with poleward shifting tropospheric westerlies was attributed to downward propagation of stratospheric changes induced by ozone depletion. However, the role of the ocean in setting the SAM response to ozone depletion and its dynamical forcing remains unclear. Here we show, using idealized experiments with a state-of-the-art atmospheric model and analysis of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate simulations, that frontal sea surface temperature gradients in the midlatitude SH are critical for translating the ozone-induced stratospheric changes down to the surface. This happens through excitation of wave forcing, which controls the vertical connection of the tropospheric SAM with the stratosphere and shows the importance of internal tropospheric dynamics for stratosphere/troposphere coupling. Thus, improved simulation of oceanic fronts may reduce uncertainties in simulating SH ozone-induced climate changes.