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Alvaro de la Cámara
,
Thomas Birner
, and
John R. Albers

Abstract

A combination of 240 years of output from a state-of-the-art chemistry–climate model and a twentieth-century reanalysis product is used to investigate to what extent sudden stratospheric warmings are preceded by anomalous tropospheric wave activity. To this end we study the fate of lower tropospheric wave events (LTWEs) and their interaction with the stratospheric mean flow. These LTWEs are contrasted with sudden stratospheric deceleration events (SSDs), which are similar to sudden stratospheric warmings but place more emphasis on the explosive dynamical nature of such events. Reanalysis and model output provide very similar statistics: Around one-third of the identified SSDs are preceded by wave events in the lower troposphere, while two-thirds of the SSDs are not preceded by a tropospheric wave event. In addition, only 20% of all anomalous tropospheric wave events are followed by an SSD in the stratosphere. This constitutes statistically robust evidence that the anomalous amplification of wave activity in the stratosphere that drives SSDs is not necessarily due to an anomalous amplification of the waves in the source region (i.e., the lower troposphere). The results suggest that the dynamics in the lowermost stratosphere and the vortex geometry are essential, and should be carefully analyzed in the search for precursors of SSDs.

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Verónica Martínez-Andradas
,
Alvaro de la Cámara
, and
Pablo Zurita-Gotor

Abstract

Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are extreme disruptions of the wintertime polar vortex that can alter the tropospheric weather for over 2 months. However, the reasons why only some SSWs have a tropospheric impact are not yet clear. This study analyses the tropospheric impact of SSWs over the Atlantic region as measured by the latitudinal displacement of the North Atlantic eddy-driven jet following SSWs. We use reanalysis data for the period 1950–2020 to examine differences in the stratospheric and tropospheric circulation for SSWs with an equatorward (EQ) or a poleward (POLE) shift. Our results show a stronger and more persistent Northern Annular Mode (NAM) signal in the lower stratosphere for EQ than for POLE, beginning 2 weeks before the onset date. In the troposphere, we find precursory signals of the Atlantic jet behavior over Siberia, consistent with previous studies, and also over the central North Pacific and central Europe. In particular, our results suggest that the noncanonical poleward jet shift response to SSWs is in part modulated by circulation anomalies over the central North Pacific, and that these are in turn connected to the cold phase of El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Further analysis of the enhanced predictability given by these precursors suggests that the sign of the lower-stratospheric NAM and the geopotential anomalies over the central North Pacific significantly affect the probability of having an EQ or POLE response of the Atlantic jet.

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