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  1. Abstract

    Extreme weather events have significant consequences, dominating the impact of climate on society. While high‐resolution weather models can forecast many types of extreme events on synoptic timescales, long‐term climatological risk assessment is an altogether different problem. A once‐in‐a‐century event takes, on average, 100 years of simulation time to appear just once, far beyond the typical integration length of a weather forecast model. Therefore, this task is left to cheaper, but less accurate, low‐resolution or statistical models. But there is untapped potential in weather model output: despite being short in duration, weather forecast ensembles are produced multiple times a week. Integrations are launched with independent perturbations, causing them to spread apart over time and broadly sample phase space. Collectively, these integrations add up to thousands of years of data. We establish methods to extract climatological information from these short weather simulations. Using ensemble hindcasts by the European Center for Medium‐range Weather Forecasting archived in the subseasonal‐to‐seasonal (S2S) database, we characterize sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events with multi‐centennial return times. Consistent results are found between alternative methods, including basic counting strategies and Markov state modeling. By carefully combining trajectories together, we obtain estimates of SSW frequencies and their seasonal distributions that are consistent with reanalysis‐derived estimates for moderately rare events, but with much tighter uncertainty bounds, and which can be extended to events of unprecedented severity that have not yet been observed historically. These methods hold potential for assessing extreme events throughout the climate system, beyond this example of stratospheric extremes.

     
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  2. Abstract

    In response to global warming, ozone is predicted to increase aloft due to stratospheric cooling but decrease in the tropical lower stratosphere. The ozone reductions have been primarily attributed to a strengthening Brewer‐Dobson circulation, which upwells ozone‐poor air. Yet, this paper finds that strengthening upwelling only explains part of the reduction. The reduction is also driven by tropospheric expansion under global warming, which erodes the ozone layer from below, the low ozone anomalies from which are advected upwards. Strengthening upwelling and tropospheric expansion are correlated under global warming, making it challenging to disentangle their relative contributions. Therefore, chemistry‐climate model output is used to validate an idealized model of ozone photochemistry and transport with a tropopause lower boundary condition. In our idealized decomposition, strengthening upwelling and tropospheric expansion both contribute at leading order to reducing tropical ozone. Tropospheric expansion drives bottom‐heavy reductions in ozone, which decay in magnitude into the mid‐stratosphere.

     
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  3. Abstract

    The use of air quality monitoring networks to inform urban policies is critical especially where urban populations are exposed to unprecedented levels of air pollution. High costs, however, limit city governments’ ability to deploy reference grade air quality monitors at scale; for instance, only 33 reference grade monitors are available for the entire territory of Delhi, India, spanning 1500 sq km with 15 million residents. In this paper, we describe a high-precision spatio-temporal prediction model that can be used to derive fine-grained pollution maps. We utilize two years of data from a low-cost monitoring network of 28 custom-designed low-cost portable air quality sensors covering a dense region of Delhi. The model uses a combination of message-passing recurrent neural networks combined with conventional spatio-temporal geostatistics models to achieve high predictive accuracy in the face of high data variability and intermittent data availability from low-cost sensors (due to sensor faults, network, and power issues). Using data from reference grade monitors for validation, our spatio-temporal pollution model can make predictions within 1-hour time-windows at 9.4, 10.5, and 9.6% Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) over our low-cost monitors, reference grade monitors, and the combined monitoring network respectively. These accurate fine-grained pollution sensing maps provide a way forward to build citizen-driven low-cost monitoring systems that detect hazardous urban air quality at fine-grained granularities.

     
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  4. Abstract

    We present single‐column gravity wave parameterizations (GWPs) that use machine learning to emulate non‐orographic gravity wave (GW) drag and demonstrate their ability to generalize out‐of‐sample. A set of artificial neural networks (ANNs) are trained to emulate the momentum forcing from a conventional GWP in an idealized climate model, given only one view of the annual cycle and one phase of the Quasi‐Biennial Oscillation (QBO). We investigate the sensitivity of offline and online performance to the choice of input variables and complexity of the ANN. When coupled with the model, moderately complex ANNs accurately generate full cycles of the QBO. When the model is forced with enhanced CO2, its climate response with the ANN matches that generated with the physics‐based GWP. That ANNs can accurately emulate an existing scheme and generalize to new regimes given limited data suggests the potential for developing GWPs from observational estimates of GW momentum transport.

     
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  5. We extend the Matsuno–Gill model, originally developed on the equatorial$\beta$-plane, to the surface of the sphere. While on the$\beta$-plane the non-dimensional model contains a single parameter, the damping rate$\gamma$, on a sphere the model contains a second parameter, the rotation rate$\epsilon ^{1/2}$(Lamb number). By considering the different combinations of damping and rotation, we are able to characterize the solutions over the$(\gamma, \epsilon ^{1/2})$plane. We find that the$\beta$-plane approximation is accurate only for fast rotation rates, where gravity waves traverse a fraction of the sphere's diameter in one rotation period. The particular solutions studied by Matsuno and Gill are accurate only for fast rotation and moderate damping rates, where the relaxation time is comparable to the time on which gravity waves traverse the sphere's diameter. Other regions of the parameter space can be described by different approximations, including radiative relaxation, geostrophic, weak temperature gradient and non-rotating approximations. The effect of the additional parameter introduced by the sphere is to alter the eigenmodes of the free system. Thus, unlike the solutions obtained by Matsuno and Gill, where the long-term response to a symmetric forcing consists solely of Kelvin and Rossby waves, the response on the sphere includes other waves as well, depending on the combination of$\gamma$and$\epsilon ^{1/2}$. The particular solutions studied by Matsuno and Gill apply to Earth's oceans, while the more general$\beta$-plane solutions are only somewhat relevant to Earth's troposphere. In Earth's stratosphere, Venus and Titan, only the spherical solutions apply.

     
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  6. Abstract Atmospheric regime transitions are highly impactful as drivers of extreme weather events, but pose two formidable modeling challenges: predicting the next event (weather forecasting) and characterizing the statistics of events of a given severity (the risk climatology). Each event has a different duration and spatial structure, making it hard to define an objective “average event.” We argue here that transition path theory (TPT), a stochastic process framework, is an appropriate tool for the task. We demonstrate TPT’s capacities on a wave–mean flow model of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) developed by Holton and Mass, which is idealized enough for transparent TPT analysis but complex enough to demonstrate computational scalability. Whereas a recent article (Finkel et al. 2021) studied near-term SSW predictability, the present article uses TPT to link predictability to long-term SSW frequency. This requires not only forecasting forward in time from an initial condition, but also backward in time to assess the probability of the initial conditions themselves. TPT enables one to condition the dynamics on the regime transition occurring, and thus visualize its physical drivers with a vector field called the reactive current . The reactive current shows that before an SSW, dissipation and stochastic forcing drive a slow decay of vortex strength at lower altitudes. The response of upper-level winds is late and sudden, occurring only after the transition is almost complete from a probabilistic point of view. This case study demonstrates that TPT quantities, visualized in a space of physically meaningful variables, can help one understand the dynamics of regime transitions. 
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