To what extent does what's happening in the stratosphere, tens of kilometers above Earth, influence the weather in the troposphere, the layer of atmosphere that touches Earth?
Gerber et al. performed a series of forecast experiments using a general circulation model to study the role of the stratosphere in influencing tropospheric weather following sudden stratospheric warming events. It is known that the troposphere influences the stratosphere in driving these events, but scientists were unsure of whether the stratosphere actively influenced the troposphere.
The authors found that the stratosphere does indeed influence the troposphere, although this influence is weak and easily masked by tropospheric variability.
The results indicate that improved resolution in stratospheric simulations would probably lead to better weather forecasts.
The research appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Authors include E. P. Gerber, Center for Atmosphere Ocean Science, Courant Institute, New York University; C. Orbe and L. M. Polvani, Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Columbia University.
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