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Robert X. Black and Brent A. McDaniel

Abstract

A lag composite analysis is performed of the zonal-mean structure and dynamics of Northern Hemisphere stratospheric final warming (SFW) events. SFW events are linked to distinct zonal wind deceleration signatures in the stratosphere and troposphere. The period of strongest stratospheric decelerations (SD) is marked by a concomitant reduction in the high-latitude tropospheric westerlies. However, a subsequent period of tropospheric decelerations (TD) occurs while the stratospheric circulation relaxes toward climatological conditions. During SFW onset, a wavenumber-1 disturbance at stratospheric altitudes evolves into a circumpolar anticyclonic circulation anomaly.

Transformed Eulerian-mean dynamical diagnoses reveal that the SD period is characterized by an anomalous upward Eliassen–Palm (EP) signature at high latitudes extending from the surface to the middle stratosphere. The associated wave-driving pattern consists of zonal decelerations extending from the upper troposphere to the midstratosphere. Piecewise potential vorticity tendency analyses further indicate that zonal wind decelerations in the lower and middle troposphere result, at least in part, from the direct response to latitudinal redistributions of potential vorticity occurring in the lower stratosphere. The TD period exhibits a distinct dynamical behavior with anomalous downward EP fluxes in the high-latitude stratosphere as the zero zonal wind line descends toward the tropopause. This simultaneously allows the stratospheric polar vortex to radiatively recover while providing anomalous upper-tropospheric zonal decelerations (as tropospheric Rossby wave activity is vertically trapped in the high-latitude troposphere). The tropospheric decelerations that occur during the TD period are regarded as a subsequent indirect consequence of SFW events.

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Robert X. Black and Brent A. McDaniel

Abstract

A composite observational analysis is presented demonstrating that austral stratospheric final warming (SFW) events provide a substantial organizing influence upon the large-scale atmospheric circulation in the Southern Hemisphere. In particular, the annual weakening of high-latitude westerlies in the upper troposphere and stratosphere is accelerated during SFW onset. This behavior is associated with a coherent annular circulation change with zonal wind decelerations (accelerations) at high (low) latitudes. The high-latitude stratospheric decelerations are induced by the anomalous wave driving of upward-propagating tropospheric waves. Longitudinally asymmetric circulation changes occur in the lower troposphere during SFW onset with regionally localized height increases (decreases) at subpolar (middle) latitudes. Importantly, the tropospheric and stratospheric circulation change patterns identified here are structurally distinct from the Southern Annular Mode. It is concluded that SFW events are linked to interannual atmospheric variability with potential bearing upon weather and climate prediction.

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