Eurasian Cold Air Outbreaks under Different Arctic Stratospheric Polar Vortex Strengths

Jinlong Huang Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change, Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China

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Wenshou Tian Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change, Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China

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Abstract

This study analyzes the differences and similarities of Eurasian cold air outbreaks (CAOs) under the weak (CAOW), strong (CAOS), and neutral (CAON) stratospheric polar vortex states and examines the potential links between the polar vortex and Eurasian CAOs. The results indicate that the colder surface air temperature (SAT) over Europe in the earlier stages of CAOW events is likely because the amplitude of the preexisting negative North Atlantic Oscillation pattern is larger in CAOW events than in CAON and CAOS events. Marked by the considerably negative stratospheric Arctic Oscillation signals entering the troposphere, the SAT at midlatitudes over eastern Eurasia in CAOW events is colder than in CAON events. A larger diabatic heating rate related to a positive sensible heat flux anomaly in CAOW events likely offsets, to some degree, the cooling effect caused by the stronger cold advection and makes the differences in area-averaged SAT anomalies over northern Eurasia between the CAOW and CAON events look insignificant in most stages. Massive anomalous waves from the low-latitude western Pacific merge over northeastern Eurasia, then weaken the westerly wind over this region to create favorable conditions for southward advection of cold air masses in the earlier stages of all three types of CAOs. This study further analyzes the interannual relationship between the stratospheric polar vortex strength and the intensity of Eurasian CAOs and finds that climate models participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) relative to the reanalysis dataset tend to underestimate the correlation between them. The relationship between them is strengthening under representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) and 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenarios over the period 2006–60. In addition, the intensity of Eurasian CAOs exhibits a decreasing trend in the past and in the future.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-18-0285.s1.

© 2019 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: Wenshou Tian, wstian@lzu.edu.cn

Abstract

This study analyzes the differences and similarities of Eurasian cold air outbreaks (CAOs) under the weak (CAOW), strong (CAOS), and neutral (CAON) stratospheric polar vortex states and examines the potential links between the polar vortex and Eurasian CAOs. The results indicate that the colder surface air temperature (SAT) over Europe in the earlier stages of CAOW events is likely because the amplitude of the preexisting negative North Atlantic Oscillation pattern is larger in CAOW events than in CAON and CAOS events. Marked by the considerably negative stratospheric Arctic Oscillation signals entering the troposphere, the SAT at midlatitudes over eastern Eurasia in CAOW events is colder than in CAON events. A larger diabatic heating rate related to a positive sensible heat flux anomaly in CAOW events likely offsets, to some degree, the cooling effect caused by the stronger cold advection and makes the differences in area-averaged SAT anomalies over northern Eurasia between the CAOW and CAON events look insignificant in most stages. Massive anomalous waves from the low-latitude western Pacific merge over northeastern Eurasia, then weaken the westerly wind over this region to create favorable conditions for southward advection of cold air masses in the earlier stages of all three types of CAOs. This study further analyzes the interannual relationship between the stratospheric polar vortex strength and the intensity of Eurasian CAOs and finds that climate models participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) relative to the reanalysis dataset tend to underestimate the correlation between them. The relationship between them is strengthening under representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) and 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenarios over the period 2006–60. In addition, the intensity of Eurasian CAOs exhibits a decreasing trend in the past and in the future.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-18-0285.s1.

© 2019 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: Wenshou Tian, wstian@lzu.edu.cn

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