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Prof Mark P. Baldwin

Marie Curie Career Integration Grant outcomes



At mid-to-high latitudes, the stratosphere contains >25% of the column of atmospheric mass. In Northern Hemisphere winter large-scale vertically-propagating waves drive a synchronised meridional circulation that moves mass into and out of the Arctic (>65ºN), modulating adiabatic warming of the stratospheric polar air column, and altering the strength of the stratospheric polar vortex. These stratospheric changes are associated with substantial effects on surface weather and climate, especially on Northern Annular Mode (NAM) with associated long-lasting shifts in the jet streams, storm tracks, precipitation, and likelihood of blocking events. Despite unambiguous observations of this phenomenon, as well as numerical simulations, a quantitative physical explanation of this downward coupling remains elusive. 


In this project we demonstrate that amplification of the polar stratospheric pressure signal involves a positive dynamical feedback process within the troposphere. An initial Arctic tropospheric sea level pressure (SLP) signal (e.g., from a sudden stratospheric warming) reduces latitudinal pressure gradients and poleward heat transport within the troposphere, leading to increased cooling of the Arctic lower troposphere. This cooling induces higher pressure over the Arctic region (Hoskins et al. 1985), thus amplifying the original stratospheric signal. This positive dynamical feedback process appears to operate in both hemispheres, and is consistent with the observed lag in the tropospheric response to stratospheric signals. The feedback process itself is not unique to stratospheric forcing, and may explain why the annular modes are easily forced, tend to self-amplify, and have relatively long time scales.


Thus, for the first time, we have been able to quantify stratosphere-troposphere coupling, and we have developed a diagnostic that can be used to assess the fidelity of stratosphere-troposphere coupling in nearly any model. In the future, climate models (such as used in IPCC reports) can be evaluated to see if their representation of the stratosphere is realistic. Similarly, weather forecast models can be evaluated.


Talks at meetings

SPARC General Assembly talk, January 2014, NZ

SPARC meeting talk Granada, Spain, January 2015

Brewer-Dobson workshop talk, Grindelwald, Switzerland, August 2015

AMS New Orleans talk, January 2016

SHARP Belin talk, February 2016

SPARC DynVar Helsinki, talk, June 2016

Tokyo Middle Atmosphere meeting talk, September 2016

Oxford QBO meeting talk, September 2016


Researcher training was very successful. The PhD student, Simon Clark, had a successful viva.

Papers published:

Storm track processes and the opposing influences of climate change T. A. Shaw, M. Baldwin, E. A. Barnes, R. Caballero, C. I. Garfinkel, Y.-T. Hwang, C. Li, P. A. O'Gorman, G. Rivière, I. R. Simpson & A. Voigt Nature Geoscience volume 9, pages 656–664 (2016) doi:10.1038/ngeo2783   Examining the Predictability of the Stratospheric Sudden Warming of January 2013 Using Multiple NWP Systems Om P. Tripathia, Mark Baldwinb, Andrew Charlton-Pereza, Martin Charronc, Jacob C. H. Cheungd, Stephen D. Eckermanne, Edwin Gerberf, David R. Jacksond, Yuhji Kurodag, Andrea Langh, Justin McLayi, Ryo Mizutag, Carolyn Reynoldsi, Greg Roffj, Michael Sigmondk, Seok-Woo Sonl, and Tim Stockdalem a Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom b College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom c Meteorological Research Division, Environment Canada, Dorval, Quebec, Canada d Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom e Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. f Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, New York g Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan h Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York i Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California j Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia k Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Environment Canada, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada l School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea m European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom Monthly Weather Review   Seasonal winter forecasts and the stratosphere Authors A. A. Scaife, A. Yu. Karpechko, M. P. Baldwin, A. Brookshaw, A. H. Butler, R. Eade, M. Gordon, C. MacLachlan, N. Martin, N. Dunstone, D. Smith First published: 25 October 2015 in Atmospheric Sciences Letters DOI: 10.1002/asl.598   The predictability of the extratropical stratosphere on monthly time-scales and its impact on the skill of tropospheric forecasts Authors Om P. Tripathi, Mark Baldwin, Andrew Charlton-Perez, Martin Charron, Stephen D. Eckermann, Edwin Gerber, R. Giles Harrison, David R. Jackson, Baek-Min Kim, Yuhji Kuroda, Andrea Lang, Sana Mahmood, Ryo Mizuta, Greg Roff, Michael Sigmond, Seok-Woo Son First published: 15 October 2014, Monthly Weather Review DOI: 10.1002/qj.2432   Stratospheric influence on tropospheric jet streams, storm tracks and surface weather Joseph Kidston, Adam A. Scaife, Steven C. Hardiman, Daniel M. Mitchell, Neal Butchart, Mark P. Baldwin & Lesley J. Gray Nature Geoscience volume 8, pages 433–440 (2015) doi:10.1038/ngeo2424