Increased Quasi Stationarity and Persistence of Winter Ural Blocking and Eurasian Extreme Cold Events in Response to Arctic Warming. Part II: A Theoretical Explanation

Dehai Luo Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Yao Yao Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Aiguo Dai Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York, and National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Ian Simmonds School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

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Linhao Zhong Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Abstract

In Part I of this study, it was shown that the Eurasian cold anomalies related to Arctic warming depend strongly on the quasi stationarity and persistence of the Ural blocking (UB). The analysis here revealed that under weak mean westerly wind (MWW) and vertical shear (VS) (quasi barotropic) conditions with weak synoptic-scale eddies and a large planetary wave anomaly, the growth of UB is slow and its amplitude is small. For this case, a quasi-stationary and persistent UB is seen. However, under strong MWW and VS (quasi baroclinic) conditions, synoptic-scale eddies are stronger and the growth of UB is rapid; the resulting UB is less persistent and has large amplitude. In this case, a marked retrogression of the UB is observed.

The dynamical mechanism behind the dependence of the movement and persistence of UB upon the background conditions is further examined using a nonlinear multiscale model. The results show that when the blocking has large amplitude under quasi-baroclinic conditions, the blocking-induced westward displacement greatly exceeds the strong mean zonal-wind-induced eastward movement and hence generates a marked retrogression of the blocking. By contrast, under quasi-barotropic conditions because the UB amplitude is relatively small the blocking-induced westward movement is less distinct, giving rise to a quasi-stationary and persistent blocking. It is further shown that the strong mid–high-latitude North Atlantic mean zonal wind is the quasi-barotropic condition that suppresses UB’s retrogression and thus is conducive to the quasi stationarity and persistence of the UB. The model results show that the blocking duration is longer when the mean zonal wind in the blocking region or eddy strength is weaker.

© 2017 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 e-mail: Dr. Dehai Luo, ldh@mail.iap.ac.cn

Abstract

In Part I of this study, it was shown that the Eurasian cold anomalies related to Arctic warming depend strongly on the quasi stationarity and persistence of the Ural blocking (UB). The analysis here revealed that under weak mean westerly wind (MWW) and vertical shear (VS) (quasi barotropic) conditions with weak synoptic-scale eddies and a large planetary wave anomaly, the growth of UB is slow and its amplitude is small. For this case, a quasi-stationary and persistent UB is seen. However, under strong MWW and VS (quasi baroclinic) conditions, synoptic-scale eddies are stronger and the growth of UB is rapid; the resulting UB is less persistent and has large amplitude. In this case, a marked retrogression of the UB is observed.

The dynamical mechanism behind the dependence of the movement and persistence of UB upon the background conditions is further examined using a nonlinear multiscale model. The results show that when the blocking has large amplitude under quasi-baroclinic conditions, the blocking-induced westward displacement greatly exceeds the strong mean zonal-wind-induced eastward movement and hence generates a marked retrogression of the blocking. By contrast, under quasi-barotropic conditions because the UB amplitude is relatively small the blocking-induced westward movement is less distinct, giving rise to a quasi-stationary and persistent blocking. It is further shown that the strong mid–high-latitude North Atlantic mean zonal wind is the quasi-barotropic condition that suppresses UB’s retrogression and thus is conducive to the quasi stationarity and persistence of the UB. The model results show that the blocking duration is longer when the mean zonal wind in the blocking region or eddy strength is weaker.

© 2017 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 e-mail: Dr. Dehai Luo, ldh@mail.iap.ac.cn
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