skip to main content

Title: Can current reanalyses accurately portray changes in Southern Annular Mode structure prior to 1979?
Abstract

Early reanalyses are less than optimal for investigating the regional effects of ozone depletion on Southern Hemisphere (SH) high-latitude climate because the availability of satellite sounder data from 1979 significantly improved their accuracy in data sparse regions, leading to a coincident inhomogeneity. To determine whether current reanalyses are better at SH high-latitudes in the pre-satellite era, here we examine the capabilities of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) fifth generation reanalysis (ERA5), the Twentieth Century Reanalysis version 3 (20CRv3), and the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) 55-year reanalysis (JRA-55) to reproduce and help explain the pronounced change in the relationship between the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and Antarctic near-surface air temperatures (SAT) between 1950 and 1979 (EARLY period) and 1980–2020 (LATE period). We find that ERA5 best reproduces Antarctic SAT in the EARLY period and is also the most homogeneous reanalysis across the EARLY and LATE periods. ERA5 and 20CRv3 provide a good representation of SAM in both periods with JRA-55 only similarly skilful in the LATE period. Nevertheless, all three reanalyses show the marked change in Antarctic SAM-SAT relationships between the two periods. In particular, ERA5 and 20CRv3 demonstrate the observed switch in the sign of the more » SAM-SAT relationship in the Antarctic Peninsula: analysis of changes in SAM structure and associated meridional wind anomalies reveal that in these reanalyses positive SAM is linked to cold southerly winds during the EARLY period and warm northerly winds in the LATE period, thus providing a simple explanation for the regional SAM-SAT relationship reversal.

« less
Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1744998
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10366478
Journal Name:
Climate Dynamics
Volume:
59
Issue:
11-12
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 3717-3740
ISSN:
0930-7575
Publisher:
Springer Science + Business Media
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    More than 6000 independent radiosonde observations from three major Tibetan Plateau experiments during the warm seasons (May–August) of 1998, 2008, and 2015–16 are used to assess the quality of four leading modern atmospheric reanalysis products (CFSR/CFSv2, ERA-Interim, JRA-55, and MERRA-2), and the potential impact of satellite data changes on the quality of these reanalyses in the troposphere over this data-sparse region. Although these reanalyses can reproduce reasonably well the overall mean temperature, specific humidity, and horizontal wind profiles against the benchmark independent sounding observations, they have nonnegligible biases that can be potentially bigger than the analysis-simulated mean regional climate trends over this region. The mean biases and mean root-mean-square errors of winds, temperature, and specific humidity from almost all reanalyses are reduced from 1998 to the two later experiment periods. There are also considerable differences in almost all variables across different reanalysis products, though these differences also become smaller during the 2008 and 2015–16 experiments, in particular for the temperature fields. The enormous increase in the volume and quality of satellite observations assimilated into reanalysis systems is likely the primary reason for the improved quality of the reanalyses during the later field experiment periods. Besides differences in the forecastmore »models and data assimilation methodology, the differences in performance between different reanalyses during different field experiment periods may also be contributed by differences in assimilated information (e.g., observation input sources, selected channels for a given satellite sensor, quality-control methods).

    « less
  2. Abstract. This study quantifies differences among four widely usedatmospheric reanalysis datasets (ERA5, JRA-55, MERRA-2, and CFSR) in theirrepresentation of the dynamical changes induced by springtime polarstratospheric ozone depletion in the Southern Hemisphere from 1980 to 2001.The intercomparison is undertaken as part of the SPARC(Stratosphere–troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate) ReanalysisIntercomparison Project (S-RIP). The reanalyses are generally in goodagreement in their representation of the strengthening of the lowerstratospheric polar vortex during the austral spring–summer season,associated with reduced radiative heating due to ozone loss, as well as thedescent of anomalously strong westerly winds into the troposphere duringsummer and the subsequent poleward displacement and intensification of thepolar front jet. Differences in the trends in zonal wind between thereanalyses are generally small compared to the mean trends. The exception isCFSR, which exhibits greater disagreement compared to the other threereanalysis datasets, with stronger westerly winds in the lower stratospherein spring and a larger poleward displacement of the tropospheric westerlyjet in summer. The dynamical changes associated with the ozone hole are examined byinvestigating the momentum budget and then the eddy heat and momentumfluxes in terms of planetary- and synoptic-scale Rossby wave contributions.The dynamical changes are consistently represented across the reanalysesand support our dynamical understanding ofmore »the response of the coupledstratosphere–troposphere system to the ozone hole. Although our resultssuggest a high degree of consistency across the four reanalysis datasets inthe representation of these dynamical changes, there are larger differencesin the wave forcing, residual circulation, and eddy propagation changes compared to the zonal wind trends. In particular, there is a noticeabledisparity in these trends in CFSR compared to the other three reanalyses,while the best agreement is found between ERA5 and JRA-55. Greateruncertainty in the components of the momentum budget, as opposed to meancirculation, suggests that the zonal wind is better constrained by theassimilation of observations compared to the wave forcing, residualcirculation, and eddy momentum and heat fluxes, which are more dependent onthe model-based forecasts that can differ between reanalyses. Lookingforward, however, these findings give us confidence that reanalysis datasetscan be used to assess changes associated with the ongoing recovery ofstratospheric ozone.« less
  3. Understanding the drivers of surface melting in West Antarctica is crucial for understanding future ice loss and global sea level rise. This study identifies atmospheric drivers of surface melt on West Antarctic ice shelves and ice sheet margins and relationships with tropical Pacific and high-latitude climate forcing using multidecadal reanalysis and satellite datasets. Physical drivers of ice melt are diagnosed by comparing satellite-observed melt patterns to anomalies of reanalysis near-surface air temperature, winds, and satellite-derived cloud cover, radiative fluxes, and sea ice concentration based on an Antarctic summer synoptic climatology spanning 1979–2017. Summer warming in West Antarctica is favored by Amundsen Sea (AS) blocking activity and a negative phase of the southern annular mode (SAM), which both correlate with El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Extensive melt events on the Ross–Amundsen sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) are linked to persistent, intense AS blocking anticyclones, which force intrusions of marine air over the ice sheet. Surface melting is primarily driven by enhanced downwelling longwave radiation from clouds and a warm, moist atmosphere and by turbulent mixing of sensible heat to the surface by föhn winds. Since the late 1990s, concurrent with ocean-driven WAIS mass loss, summermore »surface melt occurrence has increased from the Amundsen Sea Embayment to the eastern Ross Ice Shelf. We link this change to increasing anticyclonic advection of marine air into West Antarctica, amplified by increasing air–sea fluxes associated with declining sea ice concentration in the coastal Ross–Amundsen Seas.

    « less
  4. Abstract This study compares the spread in climatological tropical cyclone (TC) precipitation across eight different reanalysis datasets: NCEP-CFSR, ERA-20C, ERA-40, ERA5, ERA-Interim, JRA-55, MERRA-2, and NOAA-20C. TC precipitation is assigned using manual tracking via a fixed 500-km radius from each TC center. The reanalyses capture similar general spatial patterns of TC precipitation and TC precipitation fraction, defined as the fraction of annual precipitation assigned to TCs, and the spread in TC precipitation is larger than the spread in total precipitation across reanalyses. The spread in TC precipitation relative to the inter-reanalysis mean TC precipitation, or relative spread, is larger in the east Pacific than in the west Pacific. Partitioned by reanalysis intensity, the largest relative spread across reanalyses in TC precipitation is from high-intensity TCs. In comparison with satellite observations, reanalyses show lower climatological mean annual TC precipitation over most areas. A comparison of area-averaged precipitation rate in TCs composited over reanalysis intensity shows the spread across reanalyses is larger for higher intensity TCs. Testing the sensitivity of TC precipitation assignment to tracking method shows that climatological mean annual TC precipitation is systematically larger when assigned via manual tracking versus objective tracking. However, this tendency is minimized when TC precipitationmore »is normalized by TC density. Overall, TC precipitation in reanalyses is affected by not only horizontal output resolution or any TC preprocessing, but also data assimilation and parameterization schemes. The results indicate that improvements in the representation of TCs and their precipitation in reanalyses are needed to improve overall precipitation.« less
  5. Abstract This study offers an overview of the low-frequency (i.e., monthly to seasonal) evolution, dynamics, predictability, and surface impacts of a rare Southern Hemisphere (SH) stratospheric warming that occurred in austral spring 2019. Between late August and mid-September 2019, the stratospheric circumpolar westerly jet weakened rapidly, and Antarctic stratospheric temperatures rose dramatically. The deceleration of the vortex at 10 hPa was as drastic as that of the first-ever-observed major sudden stratospheric warming in the SH during 2002, while the mean Antarctic warming over the course of spring 2019 broke the previous record of 2002 by ∼50% in the midstratosphere. This event was preceded by a poleward shift of the SH polar night jet in the uppermost stratosphere in early winter, which was then followed by record-strong planetary wave-1 activity propagating upward from the troposphere in August that acted to dramatically weaken the polar vortex throughout the depth of the stratosphere. The weakened vortex winds and elevated temperatures moved downward to the surface from mid-October to December, promoting a record strong swing of the southern annular mode (SAM) to its negative phase. This record-negative SAM appeared to be a primary driver of the extreme hot and dry conditions over subtropical easternmore »Australia that accompanied the severe wildfires that occurred in late spring 2019. State-of-the-art dynamical seasonal forecast systems skillfully predicted the significant vortex weakening of spring 2019 and subsequent development of negative SAM from as early as late July.« less