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  1. Abstract

    Skillfully predicting the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the closely related northern annular mode (NAM), on ‘subseasonal’ (weeks to less than a season) timescales is a high priority for operational forecasting centers, because of the NAO’s association with high-impact weather events, particularly during winter. Unfortunately, the relatively fast, weather-related processes dominating total NAO variability are unpredictable beyond about two weeks. On longer timescales, the tropical troposphere and the stratosphere provide some predictability, but they contribute relatively little to total NAO variance. Moreover, subseasonal forecasts are only sporadically skillful, suggesting the practical need to identify the fewer potentially predictable events at the time of forecast. Here we construct an observationally based linear inverse model (LIM) that predicts when, and diagnoses why, subseasonal NAO forecasts will be most skillful. We use the LIM to identify those dynamical modes that, despite capturing only a fraction of overall NAO variability, are largely responsible for extended-range NAO skill. Predictable NAO events stem from the linear superposition of these modes, which represent joint tropical sea-surface temperature-lower stratosphere variability plus a single mode capturing downward propagation from the upper stratosphere. Our method has broad applicability because both the LIM and the state-of-the-art European Centre for Medium-Rangemore »Weather Forecasts Integrated Forecast System (IFS) have higher (and comparable) skill for the same set of predicted high skill forecast events, suggesting that the low-dimensional predictable subspace identified by the LIM is relevant to real-world subseasonal NAO predictions.

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  2. Abstract. Stratosphere-to-troposphere transport (STT) is an important sourceof ozone for the troposphere, particularly over western North America. STTin this region is predominantly controlled by a combination of thevariability and location of the Pacific jet stream and the amount of ozonein the lower stratosphere, two factors which are likely to change ifgreenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase. Here we use WholeAtmosphere Community Climate Model experiments with a tracer ofstratospheric ozone (O3S) to study how end-of-the-century RepresentativeConcentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 sea surface temperatures (SSTs) andgreenhouse gases (GHGs), in isolation and in combination, influence STT ofozone over western North America relative to a preindustrial controlbackground state. We find that O3S increases by up to 37 % during late winter at 700 hPaover western North America in response to RCP8.5 forcing, with the increasestapering off somewhat during spring and summer. When this response to RCP8.5greenhouse gas forcing is decomposed into the contributions made by futureSSTs alone versus future GHGs alone, the latter are found to be primarilyresponsible for these O3S changes. Both the future SSTs alone and the futureGHGs alone accelerate the Brewer–Dobson circulation, which modifiesextratropical lower-stratospheric ozone mixing ratios. While the future GHGsalone promote a more zonally symmetric lower-stratospheric ozone change dueto enhanced ozone productionmore »and some transport, the future SSTs aloneincrease lower-stratospheric ozone predominantly over the North Pacific viatransport associated with a stationary planetary-scale wave. Ozoneaccumulates in the trough of this anomalous wave and is reduced over thewave's ridges, illustrating that the composition of the lower-stratosphericozone reservoir in the future is dependent on the phase and position of thestationary planetary-scale wave response to future SSTs alone, in additionto the poleward mass transport provided by the accelerated Brewer–Dobsoncirculation. Further, the future SSTs alone account for most changes to thelarge-scale circulation in the troposphere and stratosphere compared to theeffect of future GHGs alone. These changes include modifying the positionand speed of the future North Pacific jet, lifting the tropopause,accelerating both the Brewer–Dobson circulation's shallow and deep branches,and enhancing two-way isentropic mixing in the stratosphere.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  3. Abstract. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is known to modulate the strength and frequency of stratosphere-to-troposphere transport (STT) of ozone over the Pacific–North American region during late winter to early summer. Dynamical processes that have been proposed to account for this variability include variations in the amount of ozone in the lowermoststratosphere that is available for STT and tropospheric circulation-relatedvariations in the frequency and geographic distribution of individual STTevents. Here we use a large ensemble of Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model(WACCM) simulations (forced by sea-surface temperature (SST) boundaryconditions consistent with each phase of ENSO) to show that variability inlower-stratospheric ozone and shifts in the Pacific tropospheric jetconstructively contribute to the amount of STT of ozone in the NorthAmerican region during both ENSO phases. In terms of stratosphericvariability, ENSO drives ozone anomalies resembling the Pacific–NorthAmerican teleconnection pattern that span much of the lower stratospherebelow 50 hPa. These ozone anomalies, which dominate over other ENSO-drivenchanges in the Brewer–Dobson circulation (including changes due to both thestratospheric residual circulation and quasi-isentropic mixing), stronglymodulate the amount of ozone available for STT transport. As a result,during late winter (February–March), the stratospheric ozone response to theteleconnections constructively reinforces anomalous ENSO-jet-driven STT ofozone. However, as ENSO forcing weakens asmore »spring progresses into summer(April–June), the direct effects of the ENSO-jet-driven STT transportweaken. Nevertheless, the residual impacts of the teleconnections on theamount of ozone in the lower stratosphere persist, and these anomalies inturn continue to cause anomalous STT of ozone. These results should provehelpful for interpreting the utility of ENSO as a subseasonal predictor ofboth free-tropospheric ozone and the probability of stratospheric ozoneintrusion events that may cause exceedances in surface air qualitystandards.« less
  4. Abstract. Stratosphere-to-troposphere mass transport to the planetaryboundary layer (STT-PBL) peaks over the western United States during borealspring, when deep stratospheric intrusions are most frequent. Thetropopause-level jet structure modulates the frequency and character ofintrusions, although the precise relationship between STT-PBL and jetvariability has not been extensively investigated. In this study, wedemonstrate how the North Pacific jet transition from winter to summer leadsto the observed peak in STT-PBL. We show that the transition enhancesSTT-PBL through an increase in storm track activity which produceshighly amplified Rossby waves and more frequent deep stratosphericintrusions over western North America. This dynamic transition coincideswith the gradually deepening PBL, further facilitating STT-PBL in spring. Wefind that La Niña conditions in late winter are associated with anearlier jet transition and enhanced STT-PBL due to deeper and more frequenttropopause folds. An opposite response is found during El Niñoconditions. El Niño–SouthernOscillation (ENSO) conditions also influence STT-PBL in late spring or earlysummer, during which time La Niña conditions are associated with largerand more frequent tropopause folds than both El Niño and ENSO-neutralconditions. These results suggest that knowledge of ENSO state and the North Pacific jet structure in late winter could be leveraged for predicting thestrength of STT-PBL in the following months.
  5. Abstract. Forecasts of Pacific jet variability are used to predictstratosphere-to-troposphere transport (STT) and tropical-to-extratropicalmoisture export (TME) during boreal spring over the Pacific–North Americanregion. A retrospective analysis first documents the regionality of STT andTME for different Pacific jet patterns. Using these results as a guide,Pacific jet hindcasts, based on zonal-wind forecasts from the European Centrefor Medium-Range Weather Forecasting Integrated Forecasting System, areutilized to test whether STT and TME over specific geographic regions may bepredictable for subseasonal forecast leads (3–6 weeks ahead of time). Largeanomalies in STT to the mid-troposphere over the North Pacific, TME to thewest coast of the United States, and TME over Japan are found to have the bestpotential for subseasonal predictability using upper-level wind forecasts. STTto the planetary boundary layer over the intermountain west of the UnitedStates is also potentially predictable for subseasonal leads but likely onlyin the context of shifts in the probability of extreme events. While STT andTME forecasts match verifications quite well in terms of spatial structure andanomaly sign, the number of anomalous transport days is underestimatedcompared to observations. The underestimation of the number of anomaloustransport days exhibits a strong seasonal cycle, which becomes steadily worseas spring progresses into summer.