Zonal Asymmetry of the Annular Mode and Its Downstream Subtropical Jet: An Idealized Model Study

Jie Song LASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Wen Zhou Guy Carpenter Asia–Pacific Climate Impact Center, School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

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Xin Wang Guy Carpenter Asia–Pacific Climate Impact Center, School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

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Chongyin Li LASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Abstract

This study investigates linkages between the zonal asymmetry of the annular mode (AM) zonal pattern and the subtropical jet (STJ) over its downstream regions of the storm track by using an idealized model. Observational analyses show that the AM zonal patterns are more zonally asymmetric during days when the STJ downstream of the storm track is unusually strong, and vice versa. In the idealized model, the STJ downstream of the storm track is varied by introducing an additional zonally localized tropical heating. The model’s AM variability exhibits a nearly zonally uniform structure when there is no or only weak tropical heating. However, the signatures of the AM are locally strengthened in the heating sector; thus, the AM zonal pattern is zonally asymmetric when the tropical heating is large enough to create a strong STJ. The model results also show that the percentage of the variance explained by the AM, the persistence of the AM index, and the intensity of eddy feedback are also increased when the tropical heating becomes stronger. It is argued herein that the zonal asymmetry of the AM pattern is caused by the zonal asymmetry of the anomalous synoptic eddy forcing projecting on the AM, which is primarily due to the zonal asymmetry of the variations of the storm track between the nonheating and heating sectors.

Corresponding author address: Jie Song, LASG, P.O. Box 9804, Beijing 100029, China. E-mail: song_jie@mail.iap.ac.cn

Abstract

This study investigates linkages between the zonal asymmetry of the annular mode (AM) zonal pattern and the subtropical jet (STJ) over its downstream regions of the storm track by using an idealized model. Observational analyses show that the AM zonal patterns are more zonally asymmetric during days when the STJ downstream of the storm track is unusually strong, and vice versa. In the idealized model, the STJ downstream of the storm track is varied by introducing an additional zonally localized tropical heating. The model’s AM variability exhibits a nearly zonally uniform structure when there is no or only weak tropical heating. However, the signatures of the AM are locally strengthened in the heating sector; thus, the AM zonal pattern is zonally asymmetric when the tropical heating is large enough to create a strong STJ. The model results also show that the percentage of the variance explained by the AM, the persistence of the AM index, and the intensity of eddy feedback are also increased when the tropical heating becomes stronger. It is argued herein that the zonal asymmetry of the AM pattern is caused by the zonal asymmetry of the anomalous synoptic eddy forcing projecting on the AM, which is primarily due to the zonal asymmetry of the variations of the storm track between the nonheating and heating sectors.

Corresponding author address: Jie Song, LASG, P.O. Box 9804, Beijing 100029, China. E-mail: song_jie@mail.iap.ac.cn
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