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Convective Forcing of the North American Monsoon Anticyclone at Intraseasonal and Interannual Time Scales

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  • 1 a Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
  • | 2 b Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
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Abstract

In the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS), large-scale anticyclones associated with monsoons play major roles in tropospheric and stratospheric transport and mixing. To understand the forcing of the North American monsoon anticyclone (NAMA), this study examines the connection between precipitation over the tropics and subtropics of the North American longitude sector and the variability of the troposphere and lower stratosphere. Using ERA5 and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data from 1979 to 2019, we assess the relationship at the intraseasonal time scale using pentad-mean time series. We show that OLR anomalies are correlated with circulation anomalies northwest and northeast of the region of precipitation. Decreased OLR (increased precipitation) corresponds to increased geopotential heights and anticyclonic circulation anomalies in the 300–100-hPa layer and an opposite response in the lower-tropospheric 850–600-hPa layer. The results are consistent with the established theory of the Rossby wave response to latent heating. The increase in height, which is strongest near 150 hPa, indicates that increased precipitation is associated with a strengthened NAMA. UTLS temperatures also have significant correlations with OLR, with cold (warm) anomalies occurring above (below) the core of the anticyclonic anomaly consistent with large-scale balance. The vertical structure of geopotential and temperature anomalies is compared to simulations using an idealized general circulation model, which shows that such a vertical structure is a consistent response to diabatic heating. Correlations at the interannual time scale resemble those at the intraseasonal time scale, demonstrating that precipitation is related to the NAMA at both time scales.

© 2021 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: Kai-Wei Chang, kwchang30@tamu.edu

Abstract

In the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS), large-scale anticyclones associated with monsoons play major roles in tropospheric and stratospheric transport and mixing. To understand the forcing of the North American monsoon anticyclone (NAMA), this study examines the connection between precipitation over the tropics and subtropics of the North American longitude sector and the variability of the troposphere and lower stratosphere. Using ERA5 and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data from 1979 to 2019, we assess the relationship at the intraseasonal time scale using pentad-mean time series. We show that OLR anomalies are correlated with circulation anomalies northwest and northeast of the region of precipitation. Decreased OLR (increased precipitation) corresponds to increased geopotential heights and anticyclonic circulation anomalies in the 300–100-hPa layer and an opposite response in the lower-tropospheric 850–600-hPa layer. The results are consistent with the established theory of the Rossby wave response to latent heating. The increase in height, which is strongest near 150 hPa, indicates that increased precipitation is associated with a strengthened NAMA. UTLS temperatures also have significant correlations with OLR, with cold (warm) anomalies occurring above (below) the core of the anticyclonic anomaly consistent with large-scale balance. The vertical structure of geopotential and temperature anomalies is compared to simulations using an idealized general circulation model, which shows that such a vertical structure is a consistent response to diabatic heating. Correlations at the interannual time scale resemble those at the intraseasonal time scale, demonstrating that precipitation is related to the NAMA at both time scales.

© 2021 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: Kai-Wei Chang, kwchang30@tamu.edu
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