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Found 19 results

  1. Narrowing of the ITCZ in a warming climate: Physical mechanisms First published: 22 October 2016 Authors: Michael P. Byrne and Tapio Schneider First Published: October 22nd, 2016 Published on line: June 14th, 2016 Abstract: The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) narrows in response to global warming in both observations and climate models. However, a physical understanding of this narrowing is lacking. Here we show that the narrowing of the ITCZ in simulations of future climate is related to changes in the moist static energy (MSE) budget. MSE advection by the mean circulation and MSE divergence by transient eddies tend to narrow the ITCZ, while changes in net energy input to the atmosphere and the gross moist stability tend to widen the ITCZ. The narrowing tendency arises because the meridional MSE gradient strengthens with warming, whereas the largest widening tendency is due to increasing shortwave heating of the atmosphere. The magnitude of the ITCZ narrowing depends strongly on the gross moist stability and clouds, emphasizing the need to better understand these fundamental processes in the tropical atmosphere. Link to Paper:
  2. Energetic Constraints on the Width of the Intertropical Convergence Zone Authors: Michael P. Byrne and Tapio Schneider First Published: February 9th, 2016 Published on line: June 14th, 2016 Abstract: The intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) has been the focus of considerable research in recent years, with much of this work concerned with how the latitude of maximum tropical precipitation responds to natural climate variability and to radiative forcing. The width of the ITCZ, however, has received little attention despite its importance for regional climate and for understanding the general circulation of the atmosphere. This paper investigates the ITCZ width in simulations with an idealized general circulation model over a wide range of climates. The ITCZ, defined as the tropical region where there is time-mean ascent, displays rich behavior as the climate varies, widening with warming in cool climates, narrowing in temperate climates, and maintaining a relatively constant width in hot climates. The mass and energy budgets of the Hadley circulation are used to derive expressions for the area of the ITCZ relative to the area of the neighboring descent region, and for the sensitivity of the ITCZ area to changes in climate. The ITCZ width depends primarily on four quantities: the net energy input to the tropical atmosphere, the advection of moist static energy by the Hadley circulation, the transport of moist static energy by transient eddies, and the gross moist stability. Different processes are important for the ITCZ width in different climates, with changes in gross moist stability generally having a weak influence relative to the other processes. The results are likely to be useful for analyzing the ITCZ width in complex climate models and for understanding past and future climate change in the tropics. Link to Paper:
  3. Atmospheric Dynamics Feedback: Concept, Simulations, and Climate Implications Authors: Michael P. Byrne and Tapio Schneider First Published: January 12th, 2018 Published on line: March 26th, 2018 Abstract: The regional climate response to radiative forcing is largely controlled by changes in the atmospheric circulation. It has been suggested that global climate sensitivity also depends on the circulation response, an effect called the “atmospheric dynamics feedback.” Using a technique to isolate the influence of changes in atmospheric circulation on top-of-the-atmosphere radiation, the authors calculate the atmospheric dynamics feedback in coupled climate models. Large-scale circulation changes contribute substantially to all-sky and cloud feedbacks in the tropics but are relatively less important at higher latitudes. Globally averaged, the atmospheric dynamics feedback is positive and amplifies the near-surface temperature response to climate change by an average of 8% in simulations with coupled models. A constraint related to the atmospheric mass budget results in the dynamics feedback being small on large scales relative to feedbacks associated with thermodynamic processes. Idealized-forcing simulations suggest that circulation changes at high latitudes are potentially more effective at influencing global temperature than circulation changes at low latitudes, and the implications for past and future climate change are discussed. Link to Paper:
  4. Fast and Slow Components of the Extratropical Atmospheric Circulation Response to CO2 Forcing Authors: Paulo Ceppi, Giuseppe Zappa, Theodore G. Shepherd and Jonathan M. Gregory First Published: September 15th, 2017 Published on line: January 19th, 2018 Abstract: Poleward shifts of the extratropical atmospheric circulation are a common response to CO2 forcing in global climate models (GCMs), but little is known about the time dependence of this response. Here it is shown that in coupled climate models, the long-term evolution of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) induces two distinct time scales of circulation response to steplike CO2 forcing. In most GCMs from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project as well as in the multimodel mean, all of the poleward shift of the midlatitude jets and Hadley cell edge occurs in a fast response within 5–10 years of the forcing, during which less than half of the expected equilibrium warming is realized. Compared with this fast response, the slow response over subsequent decades to centuries features stronger polar amplification (especially in the Antarctic), enhanced warming in the Southern Ocean, an El Niño–like pattern of tropical Pacific warming, and weaker land–sea contrast. Atmosphere-only GCM experiments demonstrate that the SST evolution drives the difference between the fast and slow circulation responses, although the direct radiative effect of CO2 also contributes to the fast response. It is further shown that the fast and slow responses determine the long-term evolution of the circulation response to warming in the representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) scenario. The results imply that shifts in midlatitude circulation generally scale with the radiative forcing, rather than with global-mean temperature change. A corollary is that time slices taken from a transient simulation at a given level of warming will considerably overestimate the extratropical circulation response in a stabilized climate. Link to Paper:
  5. Response of the Zonal Mean Atmospheric Circulation to El Niño versus Global Warming Authors: Jian Lu, Gang Chen and Dargan M. W. Frierson First Published: March 11th, 2008 Published on line: November 15th, 2008 Abstract: The change in the zonal mean atmospheric circulation under global warming is studied in comparison with the response to El Niño forcing, by examining the model simulations conducted for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In contrast to the strengthening and contraction of the Hadley cell and the equatorward shift of the tropospheric zonal jets in response to El Niño, the Hadley cell weakens and expands poleward, and the jets move poleward in a warmed climate, despite the projected “El Niño–like” enhanced warming over the equatorial central and eastern Pacific. The hydrological impacts of global warming also exhibit distinct patterns over the subtropics and midlatitudes in comparison to the El Niño. Two feasible mechanisms are proposed for the zonal mean circulation response to global warming: 1) The increase in static stability of the subtropical and midlatitude troposphere, a robust result of the quasi-moist adiabatic adjustment to the surface warming, may stabilize the baroclinic eddy growth on the equatorward side of the storm tracks and push the eddy activity and the associated eddy-driven wind and subsidence poleward, leading to the poleward expansion of the Hadley cell and the shift of midlatitude jets; 2) the strengthening of the midlatitude wind at the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, arguably a consequence of increases in the meridional temperature gradient near the tropopause level due to the tropospheric warming and tropopause slope, may increase the eastward propagation of the eddies emanating from the midlatitudes, and thus the subtropical region of wave breaking displaces poleward together with the eddy-driven circulation. Both mechanisms are somewhat, if not completely, distinct from those in response to the El Niño condition. Link to full paper: Credit goes to Eric @Webberweather for finding this presentation - thank you.
  6. Seasonal and Regional Variations of Long-Term Changes in Upper-Tropospheric Jets from Reanalyses Authors: Gloria L. Manney and Michaela I. Hegglin First Published: September 15th, 2017 Published on line: December 19th, 2017 Abstract: Long-term changes in upper-tropospheric jet latitude, altitude, and strength are assessed for 1980–2014 using five modern reanalyses: MERRA, MERRA-2, ERA-Interim, JRA-55, and NCEP CFSR. Changes are computed from jet locations evaluated daily at each longitude to analyze regional and seasonal variations. The changes in subtropical and polar (eddy driven) jets are evaluated separately. Good agreement among the reanalyses in many regions and seasons provides confidence in the robustness of the diagnosed trends. Jet shifts show strong regional and seasonal variations, resulting in changes that are not robust in zonal or annual means. Robust changes in the subtropical jet indicate tropical widening over Africa except during Northern Hemisphere (NH) spring, and tropical narrowing over the eastern Pacific in NH winter. The Southern Hemisphere (SH) polar jet shows a robust poleward shift, while the NH polar jet shifts equatorward in most regions/seasons. Both subtropical and polar jet altitudes typically increase; these changes are more robust in the NH than in the SH. Subtropical jet wind speeds have generally increased in winter and decreased in summer, whereas polar jet wind speeds have weakened (strengthened) over Africa and eastern Asia (elsewhere) during winter in both hemispheres. The Asian monsoon has increased in area and appears to have shifted slightly westward toward Africa. The results herein highlight the importance of understanding regional and seasonal variations when quantifying long-term changes in jet locations, the mechanisms for those changes, and their potential human impacts. Comparison of multiple reanalyses is a valuable tool for assessing the robustness of jet changes. Link to Paper:
  7. Projecting North American Climate over the Next 50 Years: Uncertainty due to Internal Variability Authors: Clara Deser and Adam S. Phillips Published: 30th October, 2013 Abstract: This study highlights the relative importance of internally generated versus externally forced climate trends over the next 50 yr (2010–60) at local and regional scales over North America in two global coupled model ensembles. Both ensembles contain large numbers of integrations (17 and 40): each of which is subject to identical anthropogenic radiative forcing (e.g., greenhouse gas increase) but begins from a slightly different initial atmospheric state. Thus, the diversity of projected climate trends within each model ensemble is due solely to intrinsic, unpredictable variability of the climate system. Both model ensembles show that natural climate variability superimposed upon forced climate change will result in a range of possible future trends for surface air temperature and precipitation over the next 50 yr. Precipitation trends are particularly subject to uncertainty as a result of internal variability, with signal-to-noise ratios less than 2. Intrinsic atmospheric circulation variability is mainly responsible for the spread in future climate trends, imparting regional coherence to the internally driven air temperature and precipitation trends. The results underscore the importance of conducting a large number of climate change projections with a given model, as each realization will contain a different superposition of unforced and forced trends. Such initial-condition ensembles are also needed to determine the anthropogenic climate response at local and regional scales and provide a new perspective on how to usefully compare climate change projections across models. Link to full paper:
  8. On the importance of gravity waves in the middle atmosphere and their parameterization in general circulation models Authors: Charles McLandress (article in "Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, September 1998)  Published: 15th September, 1998 Abstract: This tutorial paper discusses the problem of parameterizing unresolved gravity waves in general circulation models (GCMs) of the middle atmosphere. For readers who are unfamiliar with middle atmosphere dynamics a review of the basic dynamics of both the large-scale circulation and internal gravity waves is presented. A fairly detailed and physically-based description is given of several gravity wave drag (GWD) schemes that are currently employed in middle atmosphere GCMs. These include the parameterizations of McFarlane (1987), Medvedev and Klaassen (1995), and Hines, 1997a, Hines, 1997b, which are used in the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model, as well as the parameterization of Fritts and Lu (1993), which is used in the TIME-GCM. Results from a mechanistic model and the two above mentioned GCMs are presented and discussed. This paper is not intended as a review of all GWD parameterizations nor is it meant as a quantitative comparison of the schemes that have been chosen. Link to full paper: Please note that the full paper is currently behind the "ScienceDirect paywall. Link: to ScienceDirect website: Outline: Abstract 1. Introduction 2. UARS wind and temperature observations 3. Zonal mean circulation of the middle atmosphere 4. Linear gravity wave theory 5. Gravity wave drag parameterizations 5.1. Monochromatic GWD parameterizations 5.2. Fritts and Lu parameterization 5.3. Doppler spread parameterization 5.4. Medvedev–Klaassen parameterization 5.5. Mechanistic model results 6. General circulation model results6.1. The Canadian middle atmosphere model 6.1.1. Orographic GWD scheme 6.1.2. Doppler spread GWD scheme 6.1.3. MK95 GWD scheme 6.2. The TIME-GCM 6.2.1. FL93 GWD scheme 7. Concluding remarks
  9. Regional Variations in Gravity Waves, Latent Heating, and the Tropical Circulation Authors: M. Joan Alexander Presentation Date: 24th July, 2017 Presentation Summary: Convective latent heating is an efficient generator of atmospheric gravity waves. Convectively generated gravity waves emanating from rain storms are observed far from their sources and at all levels in the atmosphere: At the surface, in the stratosphere, and even beyond in the mesosphere and thermosphere. They are common in the tropics, but are also observed at mid-latitudes and in all seasons. Convectively generated gravity waves transport momentum and drive remote changes in the circulation where they dissipate, and through this process they link fine-scale precipitation events to mesoscale and global-scale circulation changes. At tropical latitudes, convectively generated gravity waves occur on a particularly broad range of scales and frequencies. Collectively the full spectrum of gravity waves drives the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in lower stratospheric zonal-mean winds. The key characteristics of the QBO are zonal mean winds that oscillate from easterly to westerly with an average period of 28 months. The circulation is not locked to the annual cycle, but rather the period is inversely related to atmospheric wave momentum transport, or more specifically to the wave momentum forcing. The QBO has known influences on seasonal predictability, but global seasonal prediction models still severely under-resolve gravity waves and their effects on the circulation. Observations show a links between the phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the period and amplitude of the QBO. Additional observational evidence suggests a causal link between the phase of the QBO and modulation in the strength of intraseasonal precipitation variability in the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). Global characterizations of gravity waves and their momentum transport remain an observational challenge due to their small scales, high frequencies, and intermittent occurrences. Idealized models therefore play a major role in our understanding of tropical gravity waves and their effects on circulation. We present results of idealized model simulations of realistic gravity waves generated by observed precipitation and cloud variability. Regional changes in gravity wave generation and gravity wave drag and their relationships to ENSO and MJO precipitation and circulation patterns are examined. ENSO changes not only the regional pattern of tropical gravity wave sources, but also changes the wave propagation properties and wave effects on the stratospheric circulation. Gravity waves in the model occur in strong, localized, intermittent wave packets that break at lower altitudes than commonly assumed. Gravity wave occurrences above convection near the tropopause are not only tied to regional variations in precipitation, but also show a strong dependence on regional tropopause wind patterns. Our idealized model studies of waves generated by tropical convection show how global-scale waves affect the regional patterns in gravity wave occurrence and affect the net upward flux of zonal momentum into the stratosphere. Link to full paper: Not available as behind the AGU100 paywall but there video presentation at the AMS 17th Conference on "Mesoscale Processes" held at Coral Reef Harbor, Crowne Plaza, San Diego between 24th and 27th July, 2017. Link to conference video presentation :
  10. Snow–(N)AO Teleconnection and Its Modulation by the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation Authors: Y. Peings Published: 29th November, 2017 Abstract: This study explores the wintertime extratropical atmospheric response to Siberian snow anomalies in fall, using observations and two distinct atmospheric general circulation models. The role of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) in modulating this response is discussed by differentiating easterly and westerly QBO years. The remote influence of Siberian snow anomalies is found to be weak in the models, especially in the stratosphere where the “Holton–Tan” effect of the QBO dominates the simulated snow influence on the polar vortex. At the surface, discrepancies between composite analyses from observations and model results question the causal relationship between snow and the atmospheric circulation, suggesting that the atmosphere might have driven snow anomalies rather than the other way around. When both forcings are combined, the simulations suggest destructive interference between the response to positive snow anomalies and easterly QBO (and vice versa), at odds with the hypothesis that the snow–North Atlantic Oscillation/Arctic Oscillation [(N)AO] teleconnection in recent decades has been promoted by the QBO. Although model limitations in capturing the relationship exist, altogether these results suggest that the snow–(N)AO teleconnection may be a stochastic artifact rather than a genuine atmospheric response to snow-cover variability. This study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that climate models do not capture a robust and stationary snow–(N)AO relationship. It also highlights the need for extending observations and/or improving models to progress on this matter. Link to full paper:
  11. A comprehensive climatology of atmospheric gravity wave parameters based on satellite limb soundings Authors: Manfred Ern, Quang Thai Trinh, Peter Preusse, John C. Gille, Martin G. Mlynczak, James M. Russell and Martin Riese Published: 27th April, 2018 Abstract: Gravity waves are one of the main drivers of atmospheric dynamics. The spatial resolution of most global atmospheric models, however, is too coarse to properly resolve the small scales of gravity waves, which range from tens to a few thousand kilometers horizontally, and from below 1 km to tens of kilometers vertically. Gravity wave source processes involve even smaller scales. Therefore, general circulation models (GCMs) and chemistry climate models (CCMs) usually parametrize the effect of gravity waves on the global circulation. These parametrizations are very simplified. For this reason, comparisons with global observations of gravity waves are needed for an improvement of parametrizations and an alleviation of model biases. We present a gravity wave climatology based on atmospheric infrared limb emissions observed by satellite (GRACILE). GRACILE is a global data set of gravity wave distributions observed in the stratosphere and the mesosphere by the infrared limb sounding satellite instruments High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS) and Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER). Typical distributions (zonal averages and global maps) of gravity wave vertical wavelengths and along-track horizontal wavenumbers are provided, as well as gravity wave temperature variances, potential energies and absolute momentum fluxes. This global data set captures the typical seasonal variations of these parameters, as well as their spatial variations. The GRACILE data set is suitable for scientific studies, and it can serve for comparison with other instruments (ground-based, airborne, or other satellite instruments) and for comparison with gravity wave distributions, both resolved and parametrized, in GCMs and CCMs. The GRACILE data set is available as supplementary data at Link to full paper:
  12. Contributions of Ice Thickness to the Atmospheric Response From Projected Arctic Sea Ice Loss Authors: Zachary Labe, Yannick Peings and Gudrun Magnusdottir Published: 18th May, 2018 Abstract: A large ensemble of simulations from a high‐top atmospheric general circulation model are conducted to compare the atmospheric responses from loss of Arctic sea ice thickness and sea ice concentration. The response to projected sea ice thickness loss indicates substantial surface warming over the Arctic Ocean and up to 1°C of cooling in Eurasia. While the dynamic circulation response from sea ice thickness loss is smaller in magnitude, it has a similar spatial anomaly pattern as that due to sea ice concentration loss. This pattern resembles the negative phase of the Northern Annular Mode. The simulations reveal that sea ice thickness loss enhances the thermodynamic and large‐scale circulation response from sea ice anomalies. These results stress the importance of considering a realistic sea ice thickness distribution in future atmospheric general circulation model sea ice perturbation experiments. Plain Language Summary The atmospheric response to the loss of Arctic sea ice remains uncertain in current climate change assessments. Prior studies addressing the response have mostly focused on changes in sea ice concentration or the fraction of sea ice cover in a defined area. However, this neglects the role of sea ice thickness, which is projected to substantially thin during the 21st century. Using a series of climate model simulations, this study provides a comprehensive comparison of the atmospheric response to the loss of Arctic sea ice thickness and sea ice concentration. The experiments show a nonnegligible influence of sea ice thickness on near‐surface warming of the Arctic and the large‐scale atmospheric circulation. This study demonstrates the importance of accurately representing changes in Arctic sea ice thickness in future climate model studies. Link to full paper: Please note that the full paper is currently behind an AGU100 paywall. Link to AGU100 website: Link to Supplementary information:
  13. Toward a Physically Based Gravity Wave Source Parameterization in a General Circulation Model Authors: J. H. Richter, F. Sassi and R. R. Garcia Published: 6th July, 2009 Abstract: Middle atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs) must employ a parameterization for small-scale gravity waves (GWs). Such parameterizations typically make very simple assumptions about gravity wave sources, such as uniform distribution in space and time or an arbitrarily specified GW source function. The authors present a configuration of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) that replaces the arbitrarily specified GW source spectrum with GW source parameterizations. For the nonorographic wave sources, a frontal system and convective GW source parameterization are used. These parameterizations link GW generation to tropospheric quantities calculated by the GCM and provide a model-consistent GW representation. With the new GW source parameterization, a reasonable middle atmospheric circulation can be obtained and the middle atmospheric circulation is better in several respects than that generated by a typical GW source specification. In particular, the interannual NH stratospheric variability is significantly improved as a result of the source-oriented GW parameterization. It is also shown that the addition of a parameterization to estimate mountain stress due to unresolved orography has a large effect on the frequency of stratospheric sudden warmings in the NH stratosphere by changing the propagation of stationary planetary waves into the polar vortex. Link to full paper:
  14. Mongolian Mountains Matter Most: Impacts of Latitude & Height of Asian Orography on Pacific Wintertime Atmospheric Circulation Authors: R. H. White Published: 12th January, 2017 Abstract: The impacts of Asian orography on the wintertime atmospheric circulation over the Pacific are explored using altered-orography, semi-idealized, general circulation model experiments. The latitude of orography is found to be far more important than height. The Mongolian Plateau and nearby mountain ranges, centered at ~48°N, have an impact on the upper-level wintertime jet stream that is approximately 4 times greater than that of the larger and taller Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas to the south. Key contributing factors to the importance of the Mongolian mountains are latitudinal variations in the meridional potential vorticity gradient and the strength of the impinging wind—both of which determine the amplitude of the atmospheric response—and the structure of the atmosphere, which influences the spatial pattern of the downstream response. Interestingly, while the Mongolian mountains produce a larger response than the Tibetan Plateau in Northern Hemisphere winter, in April–June the response from the Tibetan Plateau predominates. This result holds in two different general circulation models. In experiments with idealized orography, varying the plateau latitude by 20°, from 43° to 63°N, changes the response amplitude by a factor of 2, with a maximum response for orography between 48° and 53°N, comparable to the Mongolian mountains. In these idealized experiments, the latitude of the maximum wintertime jet increase changes by only ~6°. It is proposed that this nearly invariant spatial response pattern is due to variations in the stationary wavenumber with latitude leading to differences in the zonal versus meridional wave propagation. Link to full paper:
  15. Isentropic Pressure and Mountain Torques Authors: Joseph Egger and Klaus-Peter Hoinka Published: 12th March, 2009 Abstract: The relation of pressure torques and mountain torques is investigated on the basis of observations for the polar caps, two midlatitude and two subtropical belts, and a tropical belt by evaluating the lagged covariances of these torques for various isentropic surfaces. It is only in the polar domains and the northern midlatitude belts that the transfer of angular momentum to and from the earth at the mountains is associated with pressure torques acting in the same sense. The situation is more complicated in all other belts. The covariances decline with increasing potential temperature (height). The role of both torques in the angular momentum budget of a belt is discussed. Link to full paper:
  16. Time-Lagged Response of the Antarctic and High-Latitude Atmosphere to Tropical MJO Convection Authors: Gina R. Henderson, Bradford S. Barrett, Ashley Lois, and Haadi Elsaawy Published: 22nd February, 2018 (online: 18th April, 2018) Abstract: Intraseasonal tropical variability has important implications for the mid- and high-latitude atmosphere, and in recent studies has been shown to modulate a number of weather processes in the Northern Hemisphere, such as snow depth, sea ice concentration, precipitation, atmospheric rivers, and air temperature. In such studies, the extratropical atmosphere has tended to respond to the tropical convection of the leading mode of intraseasonal variability, the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), with a time lag of approximately 7 days. However, the time lag between the MJO and the Antarctic atmosphere has been found to vary between less than 7 and greater than 20 days. This study builds on previous work by further examining the time-lagged response of Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation to tropical MJO forcing, with specific focus on the latitude belt associated with the Antarctic Oscillation, during the months of June (austral winter) and December (austral summer) using NCEP–DOE Reanalysis 2 data for the years 1979–2016. Principal findings indicate that the time lag with the strongest height anomalies depends on both the location of the MJO convection (e.g., the MJO phase) and the season, and that the lagged height anomalies in the Antarctic atmosphere are fairly consistent across different vertical levels and latitudinal bands. In addition, certain MJO phases in December displayed lagged height anomalies indicative of blocking-type atmospheric patterns, with an approximate wavenumber of 4, whereas in June most phases were associated with more progressive height anomaly centers resembling a wavenumber-3-type pattern. Link to full paper:
  17. Cold winter extremes in northern continents linked to Arctic sea ice loss Authors: Qiuhong Tang, Xuejun Zhang, Xiaohua Yang and Jennifer A Francis Published: 12th March, 2013 Abstract: The satellite record since 1979 shows downward trends in Arctic sea ice extent in all months, which are smallest in winter and largest in September. Previous studies have linked changes in winter atmospheric circulation, anomalously cold extremes and large snowfalls in mid-latitudes to rapid decline of Arctic sea ice in the preceding autumn. Using observational analyses, we show that the winter atmospheric circulation change and cold extremes are also associated with winter sea ice reduction through an apparently distinct mechanism from those related to autumn sea ice loss. Associated with winter sea ice reduction, a high-pressure anomaly prevails over the subarctic, which in part results from fewer cyclones owing to a weakened gradient in sea surface temperature and lower baroclinicity over sparse sea ice. The results suggest that the winter atmospheric circulation at high northern latitudes associated with Arctic sea ice loss, especially in the winter, favors the occurrence of cold winter extremes at middle latitudes of the northern continents. Link to full paper:
  18. Increased Variability in the Early Winter Subarctic North American Atmospheric Circulation Authors: James E. Overland (NOAA)and Muyin Wang (Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington) Published: 23rd July, 2015 (published online: 11th September, 2015) Abstract: The last decade shows increased variability in the Arctic Oscillation (AO) index for December. Over eastern North America such increased variability depended on amplification of the climatological longwave atmospheric circulation pattern. Recent negative magnitudes of the AO have increased geopotential thickness west of Greenland and cold weather in the central and eastern United States. Although the increased variance in the AO is statistically significant based on 9-yr running standard deviations from 1950 to 2014, one cannot necessarily robustly attribute the increase to steady changes in external sources (sea temperatures, sea ice) rather than a chaotic view of internal atmospheric variability; this is due to a relatively short record and a review of associated atmospheric dynamics. Although chaotic internal variability dominates the dynamics of atmospheric circulation, Arctic thermodynamic influence can reinforce the regional geopotential height pattern. Such reinforcement suggests a conditional or state dependence on whether an Arctic influence will impact subarctic severe weather, based on different circulation regimes. A key conclusion is the importance of recent variability over potential trends in Arctic and subarctic atmospheric circulation. Continued thermodynamic Arctic changes are suggested as a Bayesian prior leading to a probabilistic approach for potential subarctic weather linkages and the potential for improving seasonal forecasts. Link to full paper:
  19. Investigating Possible Arctic–Midlatitude Teleconnections in a Linear Framework Authors: Raymond Sellevold, Stefan Sobolowski and Camille Li (Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Norway) First Published: 18th December, 2015 (published online: 27th September, 2016) Abstract: There is an ongoing debate over whether accelerated Arctic warming [Arctic amplification (AA)] is altering the large-scale circulation responsible for the anomalous weather experienced by midlatitude regions in recent years. Among the proposed mechanisms is the idea that local processes associated with sea ice loss heat the lower troposphere at high latitudes, thus weakening the equator-to-pole temperature gradient and driving changes in quasi-stationary waves, the midlatitude jets, and storm tracks. It is further hypothesized that these circulation changes are conducive to persistent weather patterns. Because of the short observational record and large atmospheric internal variability, it is difficult to identify robust relationships and infer causality. Here, a simplified, linear, steady-state model is used to investigate the direct response of the midlatitude atmospheric circulation to thermal forcing in the Arctic. The results suggest that there is a weak midlatitude circulation response to an idealized, but representative, Arctic heating perturbation. Further, the stationary wave responses are shown to be well within the bounds of internal variability. A midlatitude response is excited if the idealized heating penetrates up to the tropopause. Such deep, persistent heating is not observed on average during the AA period but does suggest a pathway for Arctic–midlatitude linkages under specific conditions. This study adds to the growing body of work suggesting that warming in the lower troposphere associated with Arctic amplification is not currently a direct driver of anomalous midlatitude circulation changes. Link to full paper:
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