Transient response of the Southern Ocean to changing ozone: Regional responses and physical mechanisms

William J.M. Seviour, Anand Gnanadesikan*, Darryn Waugh, Marie Aude Pradal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The impact of changing ozone on the climate of the Southern Ocean is evaluated using an ensemble of coupled climate model simulations. By imposing a step change from 1860 to 2000 conditions, response functions associated with this change are estimated. The physical processes that drive this response are different across time periods and locations, as is the sign of the response itself. Initial cooling in the Pacific sector is driven not only by the increased winds pushing cold water northward, but also by the southward shift of storms associated with the jet stream. This shift drives both an increase in cloudiness (resulting in less absorption of solar radiation) and an increase in net freshwater flux to the ocean (resulting in a decrease in surface salinity that cuts off mixing of warm water from below). A subsurface increase in temperature associated with this reduction in mixing then upwells along the Antarctic coast, producing a subsequent warming. Similar changes in convective activity occur in the Weddell Sea but are offset in time. Changes in sea ice concentration also play a role in modulating solar heating of the ocean near the continent. The time scale for the initial cooling is much longer than that seen in NCAR CCSM3.5, possibly reflecting differences in natural convective variability between that model (which has essentially no Southern Ocean deep convection) and the one used here (which has a large and possibly unrealistically regular mode of convection) or to differences in cloud feedbacks or in the location of the anomalous winds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2463-2480
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number7
Early online date13 Mar 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2017


  • Annular mode
  • Atmosphere-ocean interaction
  • Coupled models
  • Ocean circulation
  • Ozone
  • Stratosphere-troposphere coupling

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Transient response of the Southern Ocean to changing ozone: Regional responses and physical mechanisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this