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Robustness and drivers of the Northern Hemisphere extratropical atmospheric circulation response to a CO2-induced warming in CNRM-CM6-1

Thomas Oudar

Understanding the mid-latitude atmospheric circulation response to CO2 forcing is challenging and complex due to the strong internal variability and the multiple potential CO2-induced effects. While a significant poleward shift of the jet is projected in summer, changes remain uncertain in winter. In this study, we investigate the boreal winter extratropical jet response to an abrupt quadrupling of atmospheric CO2 in the CMIP6-generation global climate model CNRM-CM6-1. First, we show that the model performs better than the former generation CNRM-CM5 model in representing the atmospheric dynamics in the northern extratropics. Then, when atmospheric CO2 is quadrupled, CNRM-CM6-1 exhibits a strengthening and upward shift of the jet. A poleward shift is identified and robust in the Pacific in boreal winter. In the Atlantic, the jet response rather exhibits a squeezing, especially at the eastern part of the basin. It is found that changes are more robust across the Northern Hemisphere in early-winter than in late-winter season. Finally, the circulation response is broken down into individual contributions of various drivers. The uniform global mean component of the SST warming is found to explain most of the total atmospheric response to a quadrupling of CO2, with relatively smaller contributions from faster CO2 effects, the SST pattern change and the Arctic sea ice decline. The cloud radiative effect contribution is also assessed and found to be rather weak in the CNRM-CM6-1 model. This study highlights that long experiments are required to isolate the wintertime circulation response from the internal variability, and that idealized experimental setups are helpful to disentangle the physical drivers.

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