skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1948667

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    The latitudinal precipitation distribution shows a secondary peak in midlatitudes and a minimum in the subtropics. This minimum is widely attributed to the descending branch of the Eulerian Hadley cell. This study however shows that the precipitation distribution aligns more closely with the transformed Eulerian mean (TEM) vertical motion. In Northern Hemisphere winter, maximum TEM descent (ascent) and precipitation minimum (maximum) are collocated at ~20°N (~40°N). The subtropical descent is mostly driven by the meridional flux of zonal momentum by large-scale eddies, while the midlatitude ascent is driven by the meridional flux of heat by the eddies. When the poleward eddy momentum flux is sufficiently strong, however, the secondary precipitation peak shifts to 60°N corresponding to the location of the TEM ascent driven by the eddy momentum flux. Moisture supply for the precipitation is aided by evaporation which is enhanced where the TEM descending branch brings down dry air from the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere. This picture is reminiscent of dry air intrusions in synoptic meteorology, suggesting that the descending branch may embody a zonal mean expression of dry air intrusions. Moist air rises following the TEM ascending branch, suggesting that the ascending branch may be interpreted as a zonal mean expression of warm conveyor belts. This study thus offers a large-scale dynamics perspective of the synoptic description of precipitation systems. The findings here also suggest that future changes in the eddy momentum flux, which is poorly understood, could play a pivotal role in determining the future precipitation distribution.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    The poleward heat flux by atmospheric waves plays a pivotal role in maintaining the meridional temperature gradient. A recent study found that in the Northern Hemisphere the heat flux by transient eddies has been weakening, and the study attributed this weakening to the smaller equator‐to‐pole temperature gradient caused by Arctic warming. During the period of 1979–2019 examined here, for the annual mean, both the synoptic‐scale eddy heat flux and the temperature gradient had indeed declined. However, from October to April, the synoptic‐scale eddy flux trend is more closely tied to the planetary‐scale eddy heat flux trend, than to the temperature gradient trend. From June to August, the synoptic‐scale eddy flux decline can be attributed to a warming of the high‐latitude land areas. Therefore, a more comprehensive interpretation of the synoptic‐scale eddy heat flux trend needs to include the dynamics of the planetary‐scale waves and summer land warming.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Trends in moist static energy (MSE) transport are investigated for the years 1980 through 2018 using four different reanalysis data sets. The reanalysis data sets show agreement in the eddy MSE transport trends and the latitudinal structure of the MSE trends, but vary widely in the trend of the flux of the climatological zonal mean MSE by the anomalous zonal mean meridional wind. The latter dominates the total MSE transport trends in all four data sets. Therefore, none of the four total MSE flux trends is downgradient of the corresponding MSE trend. Further analysis of the MSE trends reveals that dry static energy increases strongly dominate MSE trends at all latitudes, including in the tropics where climate models and theory predict latent energy increases to dominate. As changes in MSE transport are routinely assumed to be downgradient when interpreting changes in climate, including Arctic amplification, further investigation of reanalysis MSE transport is warranted.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Dynamical mechanisms for the summer Eurasian circulation trend pattern are investigated by analyzing reanalysis data and conducting numerical model simulations. The daily circulations that resemble the Eurasian circulation trend pattern are identified and categorized into two groups based on surface warming signal over central and eastern Europe. In the group with large warm anomaly, the upper-level circulation takes on a wave packet form over Eurasia, and there are enhanced latent heating anomalies centered over the North Sea and suppressed latent heating anomalies over the Caspian Sea. The numerical model calculations indicate that these latent heating anomalies can excite an upper-level circulation response that resembles the Eurasian circulation trend pattern. Additional analysis indicates that trends of these two latent heating centers contribute to the long-term circulation trend. In the weak warm anomaly group, the circulation pattern takes on a circumglobal teleconnection (CGT) pattern, and there is no heating signal that reinforces the circulation. These results indicate that not all CGT-like patterns excite temperature anomalies that are persistent and in phase with the trend pattern, and that quasi-stationary forcings, such as the latent heating anomalies, play an important role in driving the boreal summer circulation anomaly that accompanies the strong and persistent surface temperature signal.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract Changes in the zonal gradients of sea surface temperature (SST) across the equatorial Pacific have major consequences for global climate. Therefore, accurate future projections of these tropical Pacific gradients are of paramount importance for climate mitigation and adaptation. Yet there is evidence of a dichotomy between observed historical gradient trends and those simulated by climate models. Observational records appear to show a “La Niña-like” strengthening of the zonal SST gradient over the past century, whereas most climate model simulations project “El Niño-like” changes toward a weaker gradient. Here, studies of these equatorial Pacific climate trends are reviewed, focusing first on data analyses and climate model simulations, then on theories that favor either enhanced or weakened zonal SST gradients, and then on notable consequences of the SST gradient trends. We conclude that the present divergence between the historical model simulations and the observed trends likely either reflects an error in the model’s forced response, or an underestimate of the multi-decadal internal variability by the models. A better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of both forced response and natural variability is needed to reduce the uncertainty. Finally, we offer recommendations for future research directions and decision-making for climate risk mitigation. 
    more » « less
  6. Abstract This study investigates the mechanism behind the recent boreal summer circulation trend pattern and associated high surface temperature anomalies over the Russian Far East. This circulation pattern includes a prominent anticyclone over the Kamchatka Peninsula where heat extremes have been trending upward. Observational analysis and numerical model simulations indicate that latent heating anomalies centered over Yakutia, west of Kamchatka Peninsula, can excite this anticyclone and the downstream circulation trend pattern. However, this anticyclone alone is insufficient for generating the anomalously high temperature over the region. Instead, the high temperature emerges when there is an upstream precursor that resembles the Eurasian circulation trend pattern. Warm advection by this upstream circulation initiates a positive temperature anomaly over the Russian Far East, one week prior to the onset of the anticyclone in this region. As this anticyclone develops, the temperature anomalies further intensify by adiabatic warming and shortwave radiative heating. If upstream circulation anomalies are opposite to those of the Eurasian trend pattern, the initial temperature over the Russian Far East is anomalously negative. As a result, the adiabatic warming and shortwave radiative heating within this anticyclonic region are unable to bring the temperature to an extreme condition. These findings indicate that the temperature extremes over the Russian Far East are contributed by a combination of remote and local circulation forcings and provide insights into subseasonal forecasts of heat waves over this region. 
    more » « less
  7. Abstract Future projections of the poleward eddy heat flux by the atmosphere are often regarded as being uncertain because of the competing effect between surface and upper-tropospheric meridional temperature gradients. Previous idealized modeling studies showed that eddy heat flux response is more sensitive to the variability of lower-tropospheric temperature gradient. However, observational evidence is lacking. In this study, observational data analyses are performed to examine the relationships between eddy heat fluxes and temperature gradients during boreal winter by constructing daily indices. On the intraseasonal time scale, the surface temperature gradient is found to be more effective at regulating the synoptic-scale eddy heat flux (SF) than is the upper-tropospheric temperature gradient. Enhancements in surface temperature gradient, however, are subject to an inactive planetary-scale eddy heat flux (PF). The PF in turn is dependent on the zonal gradient in tropical convective heating. Consistent with these interactions, over the past 40 winters, the zonal gradient in tropical heating and PF have been trending upward, while the surface temperature gradient and SF have been trending downward. These results indicate that for a better understanding of eddy heat fluxes, attention should be given to zonal convective heating gradients in the tropics as much as to meridional temperature gradients. 
    more » « less
  8. null (Ed.)
    Abstract This study examines the role of the latent heating in exciting the upper-level circulation anomaly which destructively interferes with the climatological stationary wave in the Western Hemisphere during boreal summer. This destructive interference pattern closely resembles the circulation trend which is known to be responsible for surface heat extreme trends. To investigate the mechanism behind this circulation anomaly, daily stationary-transient wave interference and related meteorological variables are analyzed using reanalysis data for the period of 1979-2017. Numerical model simulations forced by reanalysis heating anomalies indicate that the destructive interference pattern is most effectively excited by latent heating anomalies over the North Pacific and eastern Canada. The North Pacific heating anomaly drives circulation anomalies that not only resemble the destructive interference pattern, but also transport moisture into eastern Canada. The resulting latent heating over eastern Canada drives circulation that further reinforces the destructive interference pattern which includes a prominent high pressure system over Greenland. Tropical heating also plays a role in driving the destructive interference pattern. On intraseasonal time scales, the destructive interference pattern is preceded by suppressed Indo-western Pacific heating and enhanced North American monsoon heating. On decadal time scales, both heating centers have strengthened, but the trend of the North American monsoon heating was greater than that of the Indo-Western Pacific heating. These uneven heating trends help explain the resemblance between the destructive interference pattern and the circulation trend over the Western Hemisphere. 
    more » « less