Over the past 40 years, Southern Hemisphere circumpolar westerly winds have strengthened. In his Perspective, Karoly highlights the modeling study by Gillett and Thompson, who show that these observed Southern Hemisphere climate changes in spring and summer can be explained as a response to stratospheric ozone depletion over Antarctica. The observed strengthening of the circumpolar westerlies in winter is less likely to be the response to springtime Antarctic ozone depletion, but may be due in part to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases. Understanding the different causes and practical impacts of these trends in Southern Hemisphere circulation is an important next step for climate researchers.
Comment On: Science. 2003 Oct 10;302(5643):273-514551433