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Christopher Strong
,
Fei-fei Jin
, and
Michael Ghil

Abstract

Observational and modeling studies have shown that intraseasonal, 40-day oscillations over the Northern Hemisphere extratropics are strongest around the winter season. To explore intraseasonal variability in the presence of the annual cycle, an eigenanalysis method based on Floquet theory is used. This approach helps us determine the stability of the large-scale, midlatitude atmospheric flow's periodic basic state. It gives information about the growth rate of the unstable, intraseasonal eigenmode and confirms the atmosphere's preference for intraseasonal activity during the winter months, as the annual cycle modulates the eigenvector field.

This eigenmode solution, furthermore, provides a basis for making extended-range (40-day) streamfunction-anomaly forecasts on a set of intraseasonal oscillations whose amplitude and phase depend on the season. A simple autoregressive model is developed to shed light on the seasonal dependence of predictive skill for the intraseasonal signal.

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Christian L. Keppenne
,
Steven L. Marcus
,
Masahide Kimoto
, and
Michael Ghil

Abstract

A two-layer shallow-water model with R15 truncation and topographic forcing is used to study intraseasonal variability in the Northern Hemisphere’s (NH’s) extratropical atmosphere. The model’s variability is dominated by oscillations with average periods near 65–70 and 40–50 days. These periods are also found in 13.5 years of daily upper-air data from January 1980 to July 1993.

The spatial variability associated with these oscillations is examined by compositing the streamfunction-anomaly fields of the model and the observations. The model’s 70-day oscillation is strongest in the Euro-Atlantic sector, where it bears a close resemblance to observed streamfunction composites of the North Atlantic oscillation. The observed 70-day mode exhibits similar features in the Euro-Atlantic sector, accompanied by a north–south “seesaw” over the Pacific and Eurasia. Previous authors, in their analyses of geopotential height observations, also found these features to be present in an empirical orthogonal function that contains aspects of both the North Pacific and North Atlantic oscillations.

The 40-day oscillation is characterized, in both the model simulations and observed data, by a zonal wavenumber-2 pattern anchored over the NH topography. This pattern undergoes a tilted-trough vacillation in both the model and observations. This midlatitude vacillation is strongest in the Pacific–North American sector, where it resembles a 40-day oscillation in the University of California, Los Angeles, general circulation model that is largely driven by mountain torques over the Rockies. Comparisons with observational data show a clear separation between a tropical 50-day oscillation, not present in the authors’ model results, and a 40-day NH extratropical oscillation, which resembles the topographically induced oscillation that arises in their two-layer model.

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Carlos R. Mechoso
,
John D. Farrara
, and
Michael Ghil

Abstract

The intraseasonal variability of the Southern Hemisphere stratosphere and troposphere is studied using multilevel geopotential height data for nine winters (1979–87). The study uses empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of unfiltered data at five tropospheric and five stratospheric levels.

The four leading EOFs at all tropospheric levels exhibit the patterns previously detected at 500 mb. Study of the corresponding principal components (PCs) at each level shows that the quasi-stationary anomalies associated with the leading EOFs are equivalent barotropic and exhibit no preference for early, middle or late winter.

The five leading EOFs in the stratosphere fall into two classes. The first three EOFs at all levels form the first class. This class represents anomalies that are dominated by zonal wavenumber one (wave 1), exhibit strong westward tilt with height and travel slowly eastward or remain stationary. Most cases of large, persistent PC values for this class occur in early winter. The fourth and fifth EOFs form the other class. This class represents anomalies that are dominated by wavenumber two, and tilt noticeably, but less strongly than the first class, westward with height. These anomalies tend to develop mostly in late winter and to travel eastward more rapidly. The intraseasonal variability in the stratosphere resides therewith, as expected, in structures dominated by the longest planetary waves.

No systematic connections between tropospheric and stratospheric persistent anomalies are apparent in the dataset.

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Nathan Paldor
,
Ching-Hwang Liu
,
Michael Ghil
, and
Roger M. Wakimoto

Abstract

A short-wave instability theory is applied to secondary waves on a narrow cold-front rainband observed during the Experiment on Rapidly Intensifying Cyclones over the Atlantic (ERICA). The basic mean state is approximated by the parabolic, geostrophically balanced interface between two layers of homogeneous density. The observed wavelength of perturbations along the ERICA cold front is about 20–30 km and their doubling time is about 2 hours. The observed wavelength is well within the short-wave regime of the theory, which yields a growth rate in good agreement with the ERICA observations. The spatial patterns of both the horizontal and vertical velocity components observed during ERICA are consistent with the model-derived patterns.

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Christopher M. Strong
,
Fei-Fei Jin
, and
Michael Ghil

Abstract

It has recently been suggested that oscillatory topographic instability could contribute to low-frequency variability over the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes. A barotropic potential vorticity model, with a hierarchy of forcing and topography configurations on the sphere, is used to investigate the nature of low-frequency oscillations induced by such instabilities. Steady-state solutions of the model include multiple unstable equilibria that sustain oscillatory instabilities with periods of 10–15 days, 35–50 days, and 150–180 days, for a realistic forcing pattern.

Time-dependent solutions exhibit chaotic behavior with episodic oscillations, featuring both the intraseasonal (35–50 day) and biweekly (10–15 day) modes. The former is dominated by standing spatial patterns, the latter by traveling wave patterns. The phases of the intraseasonal oscillation are robust for all cases, exhibiting a clear oscillatory exchange of atmospheric angular momentum with the solid earth via mountain torque. It is demonstrated, through linear stability analysis on the sphere, that the intraseasonal oscillations are induced by topographic instabilities.

The role of the seasonal cycle is studied by prescribing an annual cycle in the forcing. In this case, the winter forcing is more favorable than the summer for the occurrence of episodic intraseasonal oscillations. Recent observations are consistent with this model result.

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John D. Farrara
,
Michael Ghil
,
Carlos R. Mechoso
, and
Kingtse C. Mo

Abstract

We present a new empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of winter 500 mb geopotential height anomalies in the Southern Hemisphere. An earlier EOF analysis by two of the present authors prefiltered the anomalies to exclude wavenumbers 5 and higher; we do not. The different preprocessing of data affects the results. All three distinct planetary flow regimes identified in the winter circulation of the Southern Hemisphere by a pattern correlation method are captured by the new set of EOFs; only two of those regimes were captured by the earlier set. The new results, therefore, lend further support to the idea that EOFs point to distinct planetary

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