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Role of Finite-Amplitude Rossby Waves and Nonconservative Processes in Downward Migration of Extratropical Flow Anomalies

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  • 1 Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • | 2 Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • | 3 School of Earth Sciences, and Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Abstract

There is growing evidence that stratospheric variability exerts a noticeable imprint on tropospheric weather and climate. Despite clear evidence of these impacts, the principal mechanism whereby stratospheric variability influences tropospheric circulation has remained elusive. Here, the authors introduce a novel approach, based on the theory of finite-amplitude wave activity, for quantifying the role of adiabatic and nonconservative effects on the mean flow that shape the downward coupling from the stratosphere to the troposphere during stratospheric vortex weakening (SVW) events. The advantage of using this theory is that eddy effects (at finite amplitude) on the mean flow can be more readily distinguished from nonconservative effects.

The results show (in confirmation of previous work) that the downward migration of extratropical wind anomalies is largely attributable to dynamical adjustments induced by fluctuating finite-amplitude wave forcing. The nonconservative effects, on the other hand, contribute to maintaining the downward signals in the recovery stage within the stratosphere, hinting at the importance of mixing and diabatic heating. The analysis further indicates that variations in stratospheric finite-amplitude wave forcing are too weak to account for the attendant changes and shapes in the tropospheric flow. It is suggested that the indirect effect of tropospheric finite-amplitude wave activity through the residual displacements is needed to amplify and prolong the tropospheric wind responses over several weeks. The results also reveal that the local tropospheric wave activity over the North Pacific and North Atlantic sectors plays a significant role in shaping the high-latitude tropospheric wind response to SVW events.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-17-0376.s1.

© 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: Sandro W. Lubis, slubis@uchicago.edu

Abstract

There is growing evidence that stratospheric variability exerts a noticeable imprint on tropospheric weather and climate. Despite clear evidence of these impacts, the principal mechanism whereby stratospheric variability influences tropospheric circulation has remained elusive. Here, the authors introduce a novel approach, based on the theory of finite-amplitude wave activity, for quantifying the role of adiabatic and nonconservative effects on the mean flow that shape the downward coupling from the stratosphere to the troposphere during stratospheric vortex weakening (SVW) events. The advantage of using this theory is that eddy effects (at finite amplitude) on the mean flow can be more readily distinguished from nonconservative effects.

The results show (in confirmation of previous work) that the downward migration of extratropical wind anomalies is largely attributable to dynamical adjustments induced by fluctuating finite-amplitude wave forcing. The nonconservative effects, on the other hand, contribute to maintaining the downward signals in the recovery stage within the stratosphere, hinting at the importance of mixing and diabatic heating. The analysis further indicates that variations in stratospheric finite-amplitude wave forcing are too weak to account for the attendant changes and shapes in the tropospheric flow. It is suggested that the indirect effect of tropospheric finite-amplitude wave activity through the residual displacements is needed to amplify and prolong the tropospheric wind responses over several weeks. The results also reveal that the local tropospheric wave activity over the North Pacific and North Atlantic sectors plays a significant role in shaping the high-latitude tropospheric wind response to SVW events.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-17-0376.s1.

© 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: Sandro W. Lubis, slubis@uchicago.edu

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