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  • Author or Editor: Clark Evans x
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Kevin C. Prince
and
Clark Evans

Abstract

Cold surges represent one of several phenomena by which midlatitude features can modulate the atmosphere, both dynamically and thermodynamically, deep into the tropics. This study involves the construction of a climatology of the strongest South American cold surges that follow along the Andes Mountains to quantify the extent to which these surges modulate the atmosphere from the midlatitudes to the tropics. Cold surges occurring during June–September (austral winter) from 1980 to 2017 are considered. In this study, cold-surge events are identified using standardized anomalies of 925-hPa meridional wind and 925-hPa temperature. As compared with previous cold-surge investigations, the use of standardized anomalies better enables spatial variation in cold-surge intensity and impacts to be quantified. A strong cold surge is defined as one in which the 925-hPa temperature is at least 3 standardized anomalies below 0 and the 925-hPa meridional wind is at least 3 standardized anomalies above 0 on the meso-α scale or larger. Using these criteria, 67 events are identified. The composite cold surge is characterized by highly anomalous cold, southerly flow that originates in northern Argentina and progresses northward, significantly modulating lower-tropospheric kinematic and thermodynamic fields across the entire Amazon basin over a period of 2 to as many as 8 days.

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Anna N. Kaminski
,
Jason M. Cordeira
,
Nicholas D. Metz
,
Katie Bachli
,
Megan Duncan
,
Michaela Ericksen
,
Ivy Glade
,
Cassandra Roberts
, and
Clark Evans

Abstract

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are a frequently studied phenomenon along the West Coast of the United States, where they are typically associated with the heaviest local flooding events and almost one-half of the annual precipitation totals. By contrast, ARs in the northeastern United States have received considerably less attention. The purpose of this study is to utilize a unique visual inspection methodology to create a 30-yr (1988–2017) climatology of ARs in the northeastern United States. Consistent with its formal definition, ARs are defined as corridors with integrated vapor transport (IVT) values greater than 250 kg m−1 s−1 over an area at least 2000 km long but less than 1000 km wide in association with an extratropical cyclone. Using MERRA2 reanalysis data, this AR definition is used to determine the frequency, duration, and spatial distribution of ARs across the northeastern United States. Approximately 100 ARs occur in the northeastern United States per year, with these ARs being quasi-uniformly distributed throughout the year. On average, northeastern U.S. ARs have a peak IVT magnitude between 750 and 999 kg m−1 s−1, last less than 48 h, and arrive in the region from the west to southwest. Average AR durations are longer in summer and shorter in winter. Further, ARs are typically associated with lower IVT in winter and higher IVT in summer. Spatially, ARs more frequently occur over the Atlantic Ocean coastline and adjacent Gulf Stream waters; however, the frequency with which large IVT values are associated with ARs is highest over interior New England.

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