Trends in Southern Hemisphere wind-driven circulation in CMIP5 models over the 21st century: Ozone recovery versus greenhouse forcing

Guojian Wang, Wenju Cai, Ariaan Purich

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22 Citations (Scopus)


During the late 20th century, Antarctic ozone depletion and increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) conspired to generate conspicuous atmospheric circulation trends in the Southern Hemisphere (SH), contributing to a poleward intensification of the oceanic supergyre circulation. Forcing of Antarctic ozone depletion dominated the observed trends during the depletion period (1979-2005), but Antarctic ozone is projected to recover by the middle of the 21st century. The recovery provides a mechanism for offsetting the impact from increasing GHG emissions. To what extent will the recovery of ozone mitigate SH atmosphere and ocean circulation trends expected from increasing GHGs? We examine climate model output from the Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5 and 8.5 (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, respectively) emission scenario experiments, submitted to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5. Both scenarios are subject to the effect of ozone recovery. We show that during the recovery period (2006-2045), there is little poleward shift of the supergyre circulation under either RCP scenario in austral summer, due to the dominance of ozone recovery. Further, under RCP8.5 the trend in winter, a season in which ozone recovery has little impact, is greater (more poleward) than in summer, opposite to the seasonality of trends during the depletion period. Under RCP4.5, with the contribution from ozone recovery, the summer poleward shift is projected to stabilize into the postrecovery decades, whereas under RCP8.5, the summer poleward shift accelerates in the postrecovery period, presenting vastly different ocean circulation futures. Key Points Ozone recovery will dominate the trends in SH circulation during austral summer Ozone recovery provides an offsetting effect to the impact due to increasing GHG A masking period of stabilized SH circulation will emerge during ozone recovery

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2974-2986
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • greenhouse warming
  • ozone recovery
  • supergyre
  • wind-stress curl

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