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Quantifying Isentropic Mixing Linked to Rossby Wave Breaking in a Modified Lagrangian Coordinate

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Abstract

Isentropic mixing is an important process for the distribution of chemical constituents in the mid- to high latitudes. A modified Lagrangian framework is applied to quantify the mixing associated with two distinct types of Rossby wave breaking (i.e., cyclonic and anticyclonic). In idealized numerical simulations, cyclonic wave breaking (CWB) exhibits either comparable or stronger mixing than anticyclonic wave breaking (AWB). Although the frequencies of AWB and CWB both have robust relationships with the jet position, this asymmetry leads to CWB dominating mixing variability related to the jet shifting. In particular, when the jet shifts poleward the mixing strength decreases in areas of the midlatitude troposphere and also decreases on the poleward side of the jet. This is due to decreasing CWB occurrence with a poleward shift of the jet. Across the tropopause, equatorward of the jet, where AWB mostly occurs and CWB rarely occurs, the mixing strength increases as AWB occurs more frequently with a poleward shift of the jet. The dynamical relationship above is expected to be relevant both for internal climate variability, such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the annular modes, and for future climate change that may drive changes in the jet position.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Chengji Liu, cjliu@atmos.colostate.edu

Abstract

Isentropic mixing is an important process for the distribution of chemical constituents in the mid- to high latitudes. A modified Lagrangian framework is applied to quantify the mixing associated with two distinct types of Rossby wave breaking (i.e., cyclonic and anticyclonic). In idealized numerical simulations, cyclonic wave breaking (CWB) exhibits either comparable or stronger mixing than anticyclonic wave breaking (AWB). Although the frequencies of AWB and CWB both have robust relationships with the jet position, this asymmetry leads to CWB dominating mixing variability related to the jet shifting. In particular, when the jet shifts poleward the mixing strength decreases in areas of the midlatitude troposphere and also decreases on the poleward side of the jet. This is due to decreasing CWB occurrence with a poleward shift of the jet. Across the tropopause, equatorward of the jet, where AWB mostly occurs and CWB rarely occurs, the mixing strength increases as AWB occurs more frequently with a poleward shift of the jet. The dynamical relationship above is expected to be relevant both for internal climate variability, such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the annular modes, and for future climate change that may drive changes in the jet position.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Chengji Liu, cjliu@atmos.colostate.edu
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