Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 7 of 7 items for :

  • Author or Editor: John R. Gyakum x
  • Journal of Climate x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Marco L. Carrera and John R. Gyakum

Abstract

The various modes of atmospheric mass redistribution characterize the principal variations of the general circulation of the atmosphere. Interhemispheric exchanges of atmospheric mass occur with considerable regularity on subseasonal time scales. Observational evidence from previous studies indicates that anomalous and persistent regional atmospheric mass distributions (e.g., atmospheric blocking) may often be related to interhemispheric atmospheric mass exchange.

Using the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) reanalysis surface pressure, significant events when the Northern Hemisphere (NH) loses dry atmospheric mass on subseasonal time scales during the boreal winter from 1968 to 1997 are identified. A total of 25 events is found, with a preferred time scale of 9 days from the time of maximum to minimum NH dry atmospheric mass. The linear correlation coefficient between the dry atmospheric mass anomalies for the NH and Southern Hemisphere (SH) is −0.91 for the 25 events, indicating very strong interhemispheric compensation and increasing confidence in the suitability of the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis dataset for the study of interhemispheric dry atmospheric mass exchange.

Positive sea level pressure anomalies are found over northern Eurasia, the North Pacific, and the North Atlantic prior to the onset of the composite NH dry atmospheric mass collapse event. Over northern Eurasia the building of the Siberian high is found to be a statistically significant precursor to the events. The breakdown of NH dry atmospheric mass occurs in association with the decay of the positive atmospheric mass anomaly in the North Pacific as a cyclone deepens explosively in the Gulf of Alaska. Pressure surges over Southeast Asia and North America, associated with statistically significant positive atmospheric mass anomalies, are mechanisms that act to channel the atmospheric mass equatorward out of the NH extratropics on a rapid time scale (∼4 days). The dry atmospheric mass increase in the SH is manifested as enhanced surface ridging over the South Pacific and south Indian Oceans, two noted regions of atmospheric blocking.

Full access
Jessica K. Turner and John R. Gyakum

Abstract

Surface observations, soundings, and a thermodynamic budget are used to investigate the formation process of 93 arctic airmass events. The events involve very cold surface temperatures—an average of −42.8°C at Norman Wells, a centrally located station in the formation region—and cooling in the 1000–500-hPa layer. A multistage process for their formation in northwestern Canada is proposed. This process is contrary to the classical conceptualization of extremely shallow, surface formations.

In the first stage of formation, snow falls into a layer of unsaturated air in the lee of the Rocky Mountains, causing sublimational cooling and moistening the subcloud layer. Simultaneously, the midtroposphere is cooled by cloud-top radiation emissions. In the second stage, snowfall abates, the air column dries, and clear-sky surface radiational cooling predominates, augmented by the high emissivity of fresh snow cover. The surface temperature falls very rapidly, up to a maximum of 18°C day−1 in one event. In the final stage, after near-surface temperatures fall below the frost point, ice crystals and, nearer the surface, ice fog form. At the end of formation, there is cold-air damming, with a cold pool and anticyclone in the lee of the Rockies, lower pressure in the Gulf of Alaska, and an intense baroclinic zone oriented northwest to southeast along the mountains.

There have been secular changes in the characteristics of the arctic air masses over the period 1948–2008. The surface temperature during the events has become warmer, and the air masses are deeper and moister. The 1000-hPa diabatic cooling during events, which includes latent heat and radiative processes, has decreased by 2.2°C day−1.

Full access
Marco L. Carrera and John R. Gyakum

Abstract

A recent study of significant events of atmospheric mass depletion from the Northern Hemisphere (NH) during the extended boreal winter indicated that Southeast Asian pressure surges were an important physical mechanism that acted to channel the atmospheric mass equatorward out of the NH on a rapid time scale. This study builds upon this finding and examines both the direct and indirect roles of Southeast Asian pressure surges for a particular event of dry atmospheric mass depletion from the NH. The focus of this study is on the enhanced interhemispheric interactions and associated Southern Hemisphere (SH) tropical and extratropical responses resulting from the pressure surges.

First, this study examines the conservation of dry atmospheric mass (i.e., the relationship between the dry meridional winds and the area-integrated dry air surface pressure) in the NCEP reanalysis for the 25 significant events of dry atmospheric mass depletion from the NH. Results indicate that the NCEP dry meridional winds are able to qualitatively capture the dry atmospheric mass evacuation from the NH. In a quantitative sense there is very good agreement between the wind and pressure data in the extratropics of both hemispheres. A distinct negative or southward bias in the NCEP vertically and zonally integrated dry meridional winds is apparent between 5° and 17.5°N. This southward bias was not present in the ECMWF Re-Analysis. The source of the southward bias in NCEP appears to result from a weaker analyzed ITCZ.

The particular case of dry atmospheric mass depletion from the NH examined in detail is associated with an intense pressure surge over Southeast Asia. A significant enhancement of convection in the monsoon trough region of northern Australia occurs roughly 4 days after the peak intensity of the Siberian high. A low-level westerly wind burst develops in response to this enhanced zonal pressure gradient caused by the pressure surge as part of the onset of an active phase of the Australian summer monsoon. This study shows that three prominent anticyclonic circulations intensify in the SH extratropics, stretching from the south Indian Ocean to the South Pacific, beneath regions of upper-tropospheric dry atmospheric mass convergence, originating partly from the monsoon convection outflow. These anticyclonic circulations are regional manifestations of the dry atmospheric mass increase in the SH.

Full access
David Small, Eyad Atallah, and John R. Gyakum

Abstract

A modified blocking index is defined based on vertically integrated potential vorticity. The application of this index identifies blocking activity over the Northern Hemisphere during all seasons. The index is developed by systematically identifying the magnitude and spatial scale that best characterizes persistent anticyclonic circulation anomalies in different seasons. By applying a systematic approach to the detection of blocking, the interannual, seasonal, and intraseasonal patterns of blocking frequency across the Northern Hemisphere are able to be characterized. The results are consistent with previous studies in finding that blocking is more frequent in the cold season months than in the warm season, although the results suggest that blocking occurs much more frequently in the summer and fall than many studies have previously reported. By examining blocking frequency monthly, interesting patterns of intraseasonal variability are found, especially over the central Pacific in August and the eastern Pacific in September and October, where blocking is nearly as frequent as in the winter. Possible explanations for this intraseasonal variability are discussed.

Full access
Melissa Gervais, L. Bruno Tremblay, John R. Gyakum, and Eyad Atallah

Abstract

This study focuses on errors in extreme precipitation in gridded station products incurred during the upscaling of station measurements to a grid, referred to as representativeness errors. Gridded precipitation station analyses are valuable observational data sources with a wide variety of applications, including model validation. The representativeness errors associated with two gridding methods are presented, consistent with either a point or areal average interpretation of model output, and it is shown that they differ significantly (up to 30%). An experiment is conducted to determine the errors associated with station density, through repeated gridding of station data within the United States using subsequently fewer stations. Two distinct error responses to reduced station density are found, which are attributed to differences in the spatial homogeneity of precipitation distributions. The error responses characterize the eastern and western United States, which are respectively more and less homogeneous. As the station density decreases, the influence of stations farther from the analysis point increases, and therefore, if the distributions are inhomogeneous in space, the analysis point is influenced by stations with very different precipitation distributions. Finally, ranges of potential percent representativeness errors of the median and extreme precipitation across the United States are created for high-resolution (0.25°) and low-resolution areal averaged (0.9° lat × 1.25° lon) precipitation fields. For example, the range of the representativeness errors is estimated, for annual extreme precipitation, to be from +16% to −12% in the low-resolution data, when station density is 5 stations per 0.9° lat × 1.25° lon grid box.

Full access
Melissa Gervais, Eyad Atallah, John R. Gyakum, and L. Bruno Tremblay

Abstract

An important aspect of understanding the impacts of climate change on society is determining how the distribution of weather regimes will change. Arctic amplification results in greater warming over the Arctic compared to the midlatitudes, and this study examines how patterns of Arctic air masses will be affected. The authors employ the Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble (CESM-LE) RCP 8.5, consisting of 30 ensemble members run through the twenty-first century. Self-organizing maps are used to define archetypes of 850-hPa equivalent potential temperature anomalies with respect to a changing climate and assess changes in their frequency of occurrence. In the model, a pattern with negative anomalies over the central Arctic becomes less frequent in the future. There is also an increase in the frequency of patterns associated with an amplified ridge (trough) with positive (negative) anomalies over western (eastern) North America. It is hypothesized that the increase in frequency of such patterns is the result of enhanced forcing of baroclinic waves owing to reduced sea ice over the western Arctic. There is also a decline in patterns that have anomalously high over the North Atlantic, a pattern that is associated with intense ridging in the 500-hPa flow over the North Atlantic and colder over Europe. The authors relate the decrease of these patterns to an enhancement of the North Atlantic jet induced by a warming deficit in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Full access
Melissa Gervais, John R. Gyakum, Eyad Atallah, L. Bruno Tremblay, and Richard B. Neale

Abstract

An intercomparison of the distribution and extreme values of daily precipitation between the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) and several observational/reanalysis data sources are conducted over the contiguous United States and southern Canada. The use of several data sources, from gridded station, satellite, and reanalysis products, provides a measure of errors in the reference datasets. An examination of specific locations shows that the global climate model (GCM) distributions closely match the observations along the East and West Coasts, with larger discrepancies in the Great Plains and Rockies. In general, the distribution of model precipitation is more positively skewed (more light and less heavy precipitation) in the Great Plains and the eastern United States compared to gridded station observations, a recurring error in GCMs. In the Rocky Mountains the GCMs generally overproduce precipitation relative to the observations and furthermore have a more negatively skewed distribution, with fewer lower daily precipitation values relative to higher values. Extreme precipitation tends to be underestimated in regions and time periods typically characterized by large amounts of convective precipitation. This is shown to be the result of errors in the parameterization of convective precipitation that have been seen in previous model versions. However, comparison against several data sources reveals that model errors in extreme precipitation are approaching the magnitude of the disparity between the reference products. This highlights the existence of large errors in some of the products employed as observations for validation purposes.

Full access