Varied Expressions of the Hemispheric Circulation Observed in Association with Contrasting Polarities of Prescribed Patterns of Variability

R. Quadrelli Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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J. M. Wallace Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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Abstract

The low-frequency (>5 day period) variability observed within four different subsets of the climatology (H1, L1, H2, and L2) as defined by the high and low index polarities of the two leading principal components (PCs) of the sea level pressure field is compared, with emphasis on distinctive flow configurations and teleconnection patterns. The analysis is based on wintertime 500-hPa height, sea level pressure, and 1000–500-hPa thickness fields derived from the NCEP–NCAR reanalyses for the period of record, 1958–99.

“Spaghetti diagrams” display specified contours for ensembles of individual 10-day mean charts extracted from the four different subsets of the climatology. In L1, 10-day mean maps (weak zonal flow at latitudes ∼55°N) exhibit larger undulations in the barotropic component of the flow than those in H1, implying larger particle displacements and deeper penetration of Arctic air masses, particularly into Europe and the eastern United States. Maps in H2 and L2, separated in accordance with the Pacific–North American (PNA)-like second mode, exhibit quite different kinds of planetary wave patterns. The L2 subset (characterized by a retracted Pacific jet) exhibits greater variability over the Gulf of Alaska and over northern Europe.

Cold air outbreaks in Europe occur more frequently in L1 than H1, and over western North America, they occur more frequently in L2 than H2. The cold anomalies associated with low polarities of both PCs are observed more frequently than expected based on linear correlation; within the individual subsets of the climatology there are suggestions of multiple circulation regimes; teleconnection patterns for the subsets of the climatology are also discernibly different. These results constitute evidence of nonnormal or nonlinear behavior of 5- and 10-day mean fields and provide indications of how the intraseasonal variability depends on the mean state of the flow in which it is embedded.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Roberta Quadrelli, JISAO, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Box #354235, Seattle, WA 98195-4235. Email: roberta@atmos.washington.edu

Abstract

The low-frequency (>5 day period) variability observed within four different subsets of the climatology (H1, L1, H2, and L2) as defined by the high and low index polarities of the two leading principal components (PCs) of the sea level pressure field is compared, with emphasis on distinctive flow configurations and teleconnection patterns. The analysis is based on wintertime 500-hPa height, sea level pressure, and 1000–500-hPa thickness fields derived from the NCEP–NCAR reanalyses for the period of record, 1958–99.

“Spaghetti diagrams” display specified contours for ensembles of individual 10-day mean charts extracted from the four different subsets of the climatology. In L1, 10-day mean maps (weak zonal flow at latitudes ∼55°N) exhibit larger undulations in the barotropic component of the flow than those in H1, implying larger particle displacements and deeper penetration of Arctic air masses, particularly into Europe and the eastern United States. Maps in H2 and L2, separated in accordance with the Pacific–North American (PNA)-like second mode, exhibit quite different kinds of planetary wave patterns. The L2 subset (characterized by a retracted Pacific jet) exhibits greater variability over the Gulf of Alaska and over northern Europe.

Cold air outbreaks in Europe occur more frequently in L1 than H1, and over western North America, they occur more frequently in L2 than H2. The cold anomalies associated with low polarities of both PCs are observed more frequently than expected based on linear correlation; within the individual subsets of the climatology there are suggestions of multiple circulation regimes; teleconnection patterns for the subsets of the climatology are also discernibly different. These results constitute evidence of nonnormal or nonlinear behavior of 5- and 10-day mean fields and provide indications of how the intraseasonal variability depends on the mean state of the flow in which it is embedded.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Roberta Quadrelli, JISAO, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Box #354235, Seattle, WA 98195-4235. Email: roberta@atmos.washington.edu

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