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Xiaoxu Tian and Kayo Ide


In this study, the tangent linear and adjoint (TL/AD) models for the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS) Shallow Water (SW) component are tested and demonstrated. Necessary verification check procedures of TL/AD are included to ensure that the models generate correct results. The TL/AD models are applied to calculate the singular vectors (SVs) with a 48-h optimization time interval (OTI) under both the quasi-uniform-resolution (UR) and smoothly variable-resolution (VR) meshes in the cases of Hurricanes Sandy (2012) and Joaquin (2015). For the global domain, the VR mesh with 30 210 grid cells uses slightly fewer computational resources than the UR mesh with 40 962 cells. It is found that at the points before Hurricanes Sandy and Joaquin made sharp turns, the leading SV from the VR experiment show sensitivities in both areas surrounding the hurricane and those relatively far away, indicating the significant impacts from the environmental flows. The leading SVs from the UR experiments are sensitive to only areas near the storm. Forecasts by the nonlinear SW model demonstrate that in the VR experiment, Hurricane Sandy has a northwest turn similar to the case in the real world while the storm gradually disappeared in the UR experiment. In the case of Hurricane Joaquin, the nonlinear forecast with the VR mesh can generate a track similar to the best track, while the storm became falsely dissipated in the forecast with the UR mesh. These experiments demonstrate, in the context of SW dynamics with a single layer and no physics, the track forecasts in the cases of Hurricanes Sandy and Joaquin with the VR mesh are more realistic than the UR mesh. The SV analyses shed light on the key features that can have significant impacts on the forecast performances.

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Padhraic Smyth, Kayo Ide, and Michael Ghil


A mixture model is a flexible probability density estimation technique, consisting of a linear combination of k component densities. Such a model is applied to estimate clustering in Northern Hemisphere (NH) 700-mb geopotential height anomalies. A key feature of this approach is its ability to estimate a posterior probability distribution for k, the number of clusters, given the data and the model. The number of clusters that is most likely to fit the data is thus determined objectively.

A dataset of 44 winters of NH 700-mb fields is projected onto its two leading empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs) and analyzed using mixtures of Gaussian components. Cross-validated likelihood is used to determine the best value of k, the number of clusters. The posterior probability so determined peaks at k = 3 and thus yields clear evidence for three clusters in the NH 700-mb data. The three-cluster result is found to be robust with respect to variations in data preprocessing and data analysis parameters. The spatial patterns of the three clusters’ centroids bear a high degree of qualitative similarity to the three clusters obtained independently by Cheng and Wallace, using hierarchical clustering on 500-mb NH winter data: the Gulf of Alaska ridge, the high over southern Greenland, and the enhanced climatological ridge over the Rockies.

Separating the 700-mb data into Pacific (PAC) and Atlantic (ATL) sector maps reveals that the optimal k value is 2 for both the PAC and ATL sectors. The respective clusters consist of Kimoto and Ghil’s Pacific–North American (PNA) and reverse PNA regimes, as well as the zonal and blocked phases of the North Atlantic oscillation. The connections between our sectorial and hemispheric results are discussed from the perspective of large-scale atmospheric dynamics.

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Alvaro de la Cámara, Ana M. Mancho, Kayo Ide, Encarna Serrano, and Carlos R. Mechoso


Transport in the lower stratosphere over Antarctica has been studied in the past by means of several approaches, such as contour dynamics or Lyapunov exponents. This paper examines the problem by means of a new Lagrangian descriptor, which is referred to as the function M. The focus is on the southern spring of 2005, which allows for a comparison with previous analyses based on Lyapunov exponents. With the methodology based on the function M, a much sharper depiction of key Lagrangian features is achieved and routes of large-scale horizontal transport across the vortex edge are captured. These results highlight the importance of lobe dynamics as a transport mechanism across the Antarctic polar vortex.

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Alvaro de la Cámara, Carlos R. Mechoso, Ana M. Mancho, Encarna Serrano, and Kayo Ide


The trajectories in the lower stratosphere of isopycnic balloons released from Antarctica by Vorcore and Concordiasi field campaigns during the southern springs of 2005 and 2010 showed events of latitudinal transport inside the stratospheric polar vortex, both away from and toward the poleward flank of the polar-night jet. The present paper applies trajectory-based diagnostic techniques to examine mechanisms at work during such events. Reverse domain-filling calculations of potential vorticity (PV) fields from the ECMWF Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) dataset during the events show irreversible filamentation of the PV fields in the inner side of the polar-night jet, which is a signature of planetary (Rossby) wave breaking. Balloon motions during the events are fairly consistent with the PV filaments. Events of both large (~15° of arc length) and small (~5° of arc length) balloon displacements from the vortex edge are associated, respectively, with deep and shallow penetration into the core of the elongated PV contours. Additionally, the Lagrangian descriptor M is applied to study the configuration of Lagrangian structures during the events. Breaking Rossby waves inside the vortex lead to the presence of hyperbolic points. The geometric configuration of the invariant manifolds associated with the hyperbolic trajectories helps to understand the apparent chaotic behavior of balloons' motions and to identify and analyze balloon transport events not captured by reverse domain-filling calculations.

The Antarctic polar vortex edge is an effective barrier to air parcel crossings. Rossby wave breaking inside the vortex, however, can contribute to tracer mixing inside the vortex and to occasional air crossings of the edge.

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