The Role of Cloud Radiative Effects in the Propagating Southern Annular Mode

Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2024

Recommended citation: Lu, Jian, Bryce E Harrop, Sandro W Lubis, Samuel Smith, Gang Chen and L Ruby Leung, 2024: The Role of Cloud Radiative Effects in the Propagating Southern Annular Mode, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 129, doi:10.1029/2023JD040428.

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is the most dominant natural mode of variability in the mid‐latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere (SH). However, both the sign and magnitude of the feedbacks from the diabatic processes, especially those associated with clouds, onto the SAM remain elusive. By applying the cloud locking technique to the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) atmosphere model, this study isolates the positive feedback from the cloud radiative effect (CRE) to the SAM. Feedback analysis based on a wave activity‐zonal momentum interaction framework corroborates this weak but positive feedback. While the magnitude of the CRE feedback appears to be secondary compared to the feedbacks from the dry and other diabatic processes, the indirect CRE effects through the interaction with other dynamical and thermodynamical processes appear to play as important a role as the direct CRE in the life cycle of the SAM. The cross‐EOF analysis further reveals the obstructive effect of the interactive CRE on the propagation mode of the SH zonal wind directly through the CRE wave source and/or indirectly through modulating other diabatic processes. As a result, the propagation mode becomes more persistent and the SAM it represents becomes more predictable when the interactive CRE is disabled by cloud locking. Future efforts on inter‐model comparisons of CRE‐denial experiments are important to build consensus on the dynamical feedback of CRE.

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