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Life Span of Subseasonal Coupled Anomalies

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  • 1 Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
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Abstract

The impact of the local phase relationship between the low-level atmospheric circulation and the sea surface temperature (SST) on the duration of atmospheric anomalies is statistically evaluated. Using 5-day-average data from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, it is found that most of the long-lasting atmospheric anomalies are locally coupled with SST anomalies, with their number decreasing from the equator to the extratropics. The longer-lasting anomalies tend to have relationships of cyclonic-over-cold or anticyclonic-over-warm phase in the extratropics, and cyclonic-over-warm or anticyclonic-over-cold in the Tropics. This preferential phase relationship of the long-lasting anomalies is consistent with a predominant “atmosphere-driving” situation in the extratropics and an “ocean-driving” one in the Tropics.

A similar analysis using data from a one-way interaction model, with the ocean always forcing the atmosphere is carried out to compare the results with those from the reanalysis. The results show that the one-way interaction produces fewer (more) long-lasting anomalies in the extratropics (Tropics). These differences arise mostly in atmosphere-driving situations, namely, the cyclonic-over-cold or anticyclonic-over-warm phase relation. This suggests that ignoring the atmosphere's feedback effect on the ocean can lead to erroneous damping (lengthening) of atmospheric anomalies in the extratropics (Tropics).

Corresponding author address: Malaquías Peña, Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD 20742. Email: mpena@atmos.umd.edu

Abstract

The impact of the local phase relationship between the low-level atmospheric circulation and the sea surface temperature (SST) on the duration of atmospheric anomalies is statistically evaluated. Using 5-day-average data from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, it is found that most of the long-lasting atmospheric anomalies are locally coupled with SST anomalies, with their number decreasing from the equator to the extratropics. The longer-lasting anomalies tend to have relationships of cyclonic-over-cold or anticyclonic-over-warm phase in the extratropics, and cyclonic-over-warm or anticyclonic-over-cold in the Tropics. This preferential phase relationship of the long-lasting anomalies is consistent with a predominant “atmosphere-driving” situation in the extratropics and an “ocean-driving” one in the Tropics.

A similar analysis using data from a one-way interaction model, with the ocean always forcing the atmosphere is carried out to compare the results with those from the reanalysis. The results show that the one-way interaction produces fewer (more) long-lasting anomalies in the extratropics (Tropics). These differences arise mostly in atmosphere-driving situations, namely, the cyclonic-over-cold or anticyclonic-over-warm phase relation. This suggests that ignoring the atmosphere's feedback effect on the ocean can lead to erroneous damping (lengthening) of atmospheric anomalies in the extratropics (Tropics).

Corresponding author address: Malaquías Peña, Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD 20742. Email: mpena@atmos.umd.edu

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