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Comparing Polar Lows in Atmospheric Reanalyses: Arctic System Reanalysis versus ERA-Interim

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  • 1 Satellite Oceanography Laboratory, Russian State Hydrometeorological University, St. Petersburg, Russia
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Abstract

Representation of polar lows in the new high-resolution Arctic System Reanalysis (ASR) was for the first time assessed and compared to that in the ERA-Interim. Substantial improvements were found in the 850-hPa relative vorticity and near-surface wind speed information. The latter was found to be in close agreement with satellite-derived estimates. Representation of polar lows from a widely used selective list in ERA-Interim and ASR was estimated as 48% and 89%, respectively. The proportion of polar lows represented in ASR is substantially higher than reported for other reanalyses in previous studies. Verifications were found to be sensitive to the polar low reference list used, and to the definition of a polar low. As found, when a more complete polar low list from a recent satellite-derived climatology was used, the proportion of represented events decreased to 26% and 66% for ERA-Interim and ASR, respectively. Variations in polar low representation in reanalyses were also observed in different regions, with the highest proportion resolved in the Norwegian Sea. Strong dependence between polar low sizes and their representation in ERA-Interim was found. In the case of ASR, polar low representation remains constant in the size range of 200–500 km and slightly decreases only for the smallest systems with diameters less than 200 km. Usage of the strict threshold of 43 K for the atmospheric static stability criterion was found to exclude a considerable number of otherwise well-represented polar lows.

© 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: Julia Smirnova, jsmirnova@rshu.ru

Abstract

Representation of polar lows in the new high-resolution Arctic System Reanalysis (ASR) was for the first time assessed and compared to that in the ERA-Interim. Substantial improvements were found in the 850-hPa relative vorticity and near-surface wind speed information. The latter was found to be in close agreement with satellite-derived estimates. Representation of polar lows from a widely used selective list in ERA-Interim and ASR was estimated as 48% and 89%, respectively. The proportion of polar lows represented in ASR is substantially higher than reported for other reanalyses in previous studies. Verifications were found to be sensitive to the polar low reference list used, and to the definition of a polar low. As found, when a more complete polar low list from a recent satellite-derived climatology was used, the proportion of represented events decreased to 26% and 66% for ERA-Interim and ASR, respectively. Variations in polar low representation in reanalyses were also observed in different regions, with the highest proportion resolved in the Norwegian Sea. Strong dependence between polar low sizes and their representation in ERA-Interim was found. In the case of ASR, polar low representation remains constant in the size range of 200–500 km and slightly decreases only for the smallest systems with diameters less than 200 km. Usage of the strict threshold of 43 K for the atmospheric static stability criterion was found to exclude a considerable number of otherwise well-represented polar lows.

© 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: Julia Smirnova, jsmirnova@rshu.ru
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