Friday, February 1, 2013

New paper advancing the "bottom-up" mechanism as important for the observed solar signals in the atmosphere

Observed Tropospheric Temperature Response to 11-yr Solar Cycle and What It Reveals about Mechanisms

Jiansong Zhou and Ka-Kit Tung
Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Using 54 yr of NCEP reanalysis global data from 1000 to 10 hPa, this study establishes the existence and the statistical significance of the zonal-mean temperature response to the 11-yr solar cycle throughout the troposphere and parts of the lower stratosphere. Two types of statistical analysis are used: the composite-mean difference projection method, which tests the existence of the solar cycle signal level by level, and the adaptive AR(p)-t test, which tells if a particular local feature is statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. A larger area of statistical significance than that in previous published work is obtained, due to the longer record and a better trend removal process. It reveals a spatial pattern consistent with a “bottom up” mechanism, involving evaporative feedback near the tropical ocean surface and tropical vertical convection, latent heating of the tropical upper troposphere, and poleward large-scale heat transport to the polar regions. It provides an alternative to the currently favored “top down” mechanism involving stratospheric ozone heating.