EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The Southern Annular Mode in CMIP6 simulations

Olaf Morgenstern
Olaf Morgenstern
  • NIWA, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand (

Stratospheric ozone depletion, along with increases in long-lived greenhouse gases, is well known to cause a strengthening of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), the leading mode of variability in the Southern Hemisphere.  I here analyze simulations contributed to CMIP6 for signatures of these two leading drivers of climate change. For the period 1957-2014, seasonally large disagreements are found between four observational references; CMIP6-derived trends are in agreement with two out of four commonly used references. Using a regression analysis applied to model simulations with and without interactive ozone chemistry, a strengthening of the SAM in summer is attributed nearly completely to ozone depletion because a further strengthening influence due to long-lived greenhouse gases is almost fully counterbalanced by a weakening influence due to stratospheric ozone increases associated with these greenhouse gas increases. Ignoring such ozone feedbacks (an approach commonly used with no-chemistry climate models) would yield comparable contributions from these two influences, an incorrect result. In winter, trends are smaller but an influence of greenhouse gas-mediated ozone feedbacks is also identified. The regression analysis furthermore yields significant differences in the attribution of SAM changes to the two influences between models with and without interactive ozone chemistry, with ozone depletion and GHG increases playing seasonally a stronger and weaker, respectively, role in the chemistry models versus the no-chemistry ones. The results suggest that adequately representing stratospheric ozone feedbacks in climate models is critical for a correct attribution of trends in the SAM.

How to cite: Morgenstern, O.: The Southern Annular Mode in CMIP6 simulations, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6755,, 2021.

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