The Structure and Evolution of Extratropical Cyclones, Fronts, Jet Streams, and the Tropopause in the GEOS General Circulation Model

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The realism of extratropical cyclones, fronts, jet streams, and the tropopause in the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) general circulation model (GCM), implemented in assimilation and simulation modes, is evaluated from climatological and case-study perspectives using the GEOS-1 reanalysis climatology and applicable conceptual models as benchmarks for comparison. The latitude-longitude grid spacing of the datasets derived from the GEOS GCM ranges from 2° × 2.5° to 0.5° × 0.5°. Frontal systems in the higher-resolution datasets are characterized by horizontal potential temperature gradients that are narrower in scale and larger in magnitude than their lower-resolution counterparts, and various structural features in the Shapiro–Keyser cyclone model are replicated with reasonable fidelity at 1° × 1° resolution. The remainder of the evaluation focuses on a 3-month Northern Hemisphere winter simulation of the GEOS GCM at 1° × 1° resolution. The simulation realistically reproduces various large-scale circulation features related to the North Pacific and Atlantic jet streams when compared with the GEOS-1 reanalysis climatology, and conforms closely to a conceptualization of the zonally averaged troposphere and stratosphere proposed originally by Napier Shaw and revised by Hoskins. An extratropical cyclone that developed over the North Atlantic Ocean in the simulation features surface and tropopause evolutions corresponding to the Norwegian cyclone model and to the LC2 life cycle proposed by Thorncroft et al., respectively. These evolutions are related to the position of the developing cyclone with respect to upper-level jets identified in the time-mean and instantaneous flow fields. This article concludes with the enumeration of several research opportunities that may be addressed through the use of state-of-the-art GCMs possessing sufficient resolution to represent mesoscale phenomena and processes explicitly.

*Data Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

+Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York.

#Additional affiliation: General Sciences Corp., a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation, Beltsville, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Robert Atlas, Code 910.3, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: atlas@dao.gsfc.nasa.gov

The realism of extratropical cyclones, fronts, jet streams, and the tropopause in the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) general circulation model (GCM), implemented in assimilation and simulation modes, is evaluated from climatological and case-study perspectives using the GEOS-1 reanalysis climatology and applicable conceptual models as benchmarks for comparison. The latitude-longitude grid spacing of the datasets derived from the GEOS GCM ranges from 2° × 2.5° to 0.5° × 0.5°. Frontal systems in the higher-resolution datasets are characterized by horizontal potential temperature gradients that are narrower in scale and larger in magnitude than their lower-resolution counterparts, and various structural features in the Shapiro–Keyser cyclone model are replicated with reasonable fidelity at 1° × 1° resolution. The remainder of the evaluation focuses on a 3-month Northern Hemisphere winter simulation of the GEOS GCM at 1° × 1° resolution. The simulation realistically reproduces various large-scale circulation features related to the North Pacific and Atlantic jet streams when compared with the GEOS-1 reanalysis climatology, and conforms closely to a conceptualization of the zonally averaged troposphere and stratosphere proposed originally by Napier Shaw and revised by Hoskins. An extratropical cyclone that developed over the North Atlantic Ocean in the simulation features surface and tropopause evolutions corresponding to the Norwegian cyclone model and to the LC2 life cycle proposed by Thorncroft et al., respectively. These evolutions are related to the position of the developing cyclone with respect to upper-level jets identified in the time-mean and instantaneous flow fields. This article concludes with the enumeration of several research opportunities that may be addressed through the use of state-of-the-art GCMs possessing sufficient resolution to represent mesoscale phenomena and processes explicitly.

*Data Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

+Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York.

#Additional affiliation: General Sciences Corp., a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation, Beltsville, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Robert Atlas, Code 910.3, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: atlas@dao.gsfc.nasa.gov
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