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Janni Yuval
and
Yohai Kaspi

Abstract

Global warming projections show an anomalous temperature increase both at the Arctic surface and at lower latitudes in the upper troposphere. The Arctic amplification decreases the meridional temperature gradient, and simultaneously decreases static stability. These changes in the meridional temperature gradient and in the static stability have opposing effects on baroclinicity. The temperature increase at the upper tropospheric lower latitudes tends to increase the meridional temperature gradient and simultaneously increase static stability, which have opposing effects on baroclinicity as well. In this study, a dry idealized general circulation model with a modified Newtonian cooling scheme, which allows any chosen zonally symmetric temperature distribution to be simulated, is used to study the effect of Arctic amplification and lower-latitude upper-level warming on eddy activity. Due to the interplay between the static stability and meridional temperature gradient on atmospheric baroclinicity changes, and their opposing effect on atmospheric baroclinicity, it is found that both the Arctic amplification and lower-latitude upper-level warming could potentially lead to both decreases and increases in eddy activity, depending on the exact prescribed temperature modifications. Therefore, to understand the effect of global warming–like temperature trends on eddy activity, the zonally symmetric global warming temperature projections from state-of-the-art models are simulated. It is found that the eddy kinetic energy changes are dominated by the lower-latitude upper-level warming, which tends to weaken the eddy kinetic energy due to increased static stability. On the other hand, the eddy heat flux changes are dominated by the Arctic amplification, which tends to weaken the eddy heat flux at the lower levels.

Open access
Satoru Okajima
,
Hisashi Nakamura
, and
Yohai Kaspi

Abstract

Storm-track activity over the North Pacific (NP) climatologically exhibits a clear minimum in midwinter, when the westerly jet speed sharply maximizes. This counterintuitive phenomenon, referred to as the “midwinter minimum (MWM),” has been investigated from various perspectives, but the mechanisms are still to be unrevealed. Toward better understanding of this phenomenon, the present study delineates the detailed seasonal evolution of climatological-mean Eulerian statistics and energetics of migratory eddies along the NP storm track over 60 years. As a comprehensive investigation of the mechanisms for the MWM, this study has revealed that the net eddy conversion/generation rate normalized by the eddy total energy, which is independent of eddy amplitude, is indeed reduced in midwinter. The reduction from early winter occurs mainly due to the decreased effectiveness of the baroclinic energy conversion through seasonally weakened temperature fluctuations and the resultant poleward eddy heat flux. The reduced net normalized conversion/generation rate in midwinter is also found to arise in part from the seasonally enhanced kinetic energy conversion from eddies into the strongly diffluent Pacific jet around its exit. The seasonality of the net energy influx also contributes especially to the spring recovery of the net normalized conversion/generation rate. The midwinter reduction in the normalized rates of both the net energy conversion/generation and baroclinic energy conversion was more pronounced in the period before the late 1980s, during which the MWM of the storm-track activity was climatologically more prominent.

Open access
Satoru Okajima
,
Hisashi Nakamura
, and
Yohai Kaspi

Abstract

The North Pacific storm-track activity is suppressed substantially under the excessively strong westerlies to form a distinct minimum in midwinter, which seems inconsistent with linear baroclinic instability theory. This “midwinter minimum” of the storm-track activity has been intensively investigated for decades as a test case for storm-track dynamics. However, the mechanisms controlling it are yet to be fully unveiled and are still under debate. Here we investigate the detailed seasonal evolution of the climatological density of surface migratory anticyclones over the North Pacific, in comparison with its counterpart for cyclones, based on a Lagrangian tracking algorithm. We demonstrate that the frequency of surface cyclones over the North Pacific maximizes in midwinter, whereas that of anticyclones exhibits a distinct midwinter minimum under the upstream influence, especially from the Japan Sea region. In midwinter, it is only on such a rare occasion that prominent weakening of the East Asian winter monsoon allows a migratory surface anticyclone to form over the Japan Sea, despite the unfavorable climatological-mean conditions due to persistent monsoonal cold-air outbreaks and the excessively strong upper-tropospheric westerlies. The midwinter minimum of the North Pacific anticyclone density suggests that anticyclones are likely the key to understanding the midwinter minimum of the North Pacific storm-track activity as measured by Eulerian eddy statistics.

Open access
Soumik Ghosh
,
Orli Lachmy
, and
Yohai Kaspi

Abstract

Climate models generally predict a poleward shift of the midlatitude circulation in response to climate change induced by increased greenhouse gas concentration, but the inter-model spread of the eddy-driven jet shift is large and poorly understood. Recent studies point to the significance of midlatitude mid-tropospheric diabatic heating for the inter-model spread in the jet latitude. To examine the role of diabatic heating in the jet response to climate change, a series of simulations are performed using an idealized aquaplanet model. It is found that both increased CO2 concentration and increased saturation vapor pressure induce a similar warming response, leading to a poleward and upward shift of the midlatitude circulation. An exception to this poleward shift is found for a certain range of temperatures, where the eddy-driven jet shifts equatorward, while the latitude of the eddy heat flux remains essentially unchanged. This equatorward jet shift is explained by the connection between the zonal mean momentum and heat budgets: increased diabatic heating in the midlatitude mid-troposphere balances the cooling by the Ferrel cell ascending branch, enabling an equatorward shift of the Ferrel cell streamfunction and eddy-driven jet, while the latitude of the eddy heat flux remains unchanged. The equatorward jet shift and the strengthening of the midlatitude diabatic heating are found to be sensitive to the model resolution. The implications of these results for a potential reduction in the jet shift uncertainty through the improvement of convective parameterizations are discussed.

Restricted access
Joaquín E. Blanco
,
Rodrigo Caballero
,
George Datseris
,
Bjorn Stevens
,
Sandrine Bony
,
Or Hadas
, and
Yohai Kaspi

Abstract

The Northern and Southern Hemispheres reflect on average almost equal amounts of sunlight due to compensating hemispheric asymmetries in clear-sky and cloud albedo. Recent work indicates that the cloud albedo asymmetry is largely due to clouds in extratropical oceanic regions. Here, we investigate the proximate causes of this extratropical cloud albedo asymmetry using a cloud-controlling factor (CCF) approach. We develop a simple index that measures the skill of CCFs, either individually or in combination, in predicting the asymmetry. The index captures the contribution to the asymmetry due to interhemispheric differences in the probability distribution function of daily CCF values. Cloud albedo is quantified using daily MODIS satellite retrievals, and is related to range of CCFs derived from the ERA5 product. We find that sea surface temperature is the CCF that individually explains the largest fraction of the asymmetry, followed by surface wind. The asymmetry is predominantly due to low clouds, and our results are consistent with prior local-scale modeling work showing that marine boundary layer clouds become thicker and more extensive as surface wind increases and surface temperature cools. The asymmetry is consistent with large-scale control of storm-track intensity and surface winds by meridional temperature gradients: persistently cold and windy conditions in the Southern Hemisphere keep cloud albedo high year-round. Our results have important implications for global-scale cloud feedbacks and contribute to efforts to develop a theory for planetary albedo and its symmetry.

Open access
Ju-Mee Ryoo
,
Yohai Kaspi
,
Darryn W. Waugh
,
George N. Kiladis
,
Duane E. Waliser
,
Eric J. Fetzer
, and
Jinwon Kim

Abstract

This study demonstrates that water vapor transport and precipitation are largely modulated by the intensity of the subtropical jet, transient eddies, and the location of wave breaking events during the different phases of ENSO. Clear differences are found in the potential vorticity (PV), meteorological fields, and trajectory pathways between the two different phases. Rossby wave breaking events have cyclonic and anticyclonic regimes, with associated differences in the frequency of occurrence and the dynamic response. During La Niña, there is a relatively weak subtropical jet allowing PV to intrude into lower latitudes over the western United States. This induces a large amount of moisture transport inland ahead of the PV intrusions, as well as northward transport to the west of a surface anticyclone. During El Niño, the subtropical jet is relatively strong and is associated with an enhanced cyclonic wave breaking. This is accompanied by a time-mean surface cyclone, which brings zonal moisture transport to the western United States. In both (El Niño and La Niña) phases, there is a high correlation (>0.3–0.7) between upper-level PV at 250 hPa and precipitation over the west coast of the United States with a time lag of 0–1 days. Vertically integrated water vapor fluxes during El Niño are up to 70 kg m−1 s−1 larger than those during La Niña along the west coast of the United States. The zonal and meridional moist static energy flux resembles wave vapor transport patterns, suggesting that they are closely controlled by the large-scale flows and location of wave breaking events during the different phase of ENSO.

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