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David Fereday, Robin Chadwick, Jeff Knight, and Adam A. Scaife

Abstract

The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report highlighted large uncertainty in European precipitation changes in the coming century. This paper investigates the sources of intermodel differences using CMIP5 model European precipitation data. The contribution of atmospheric circulation to differences in precipitation trends is investigated by applying cluster analysis to daily mean sea level pressure (MSLP) data. The resulting classification is used to reconstruct monthly precipitation time series, thereby isolating the component of precipitation variability directly related to atmospheric circulation. Reconstructed observed precipitation and reconstructions of simulated historical and projection data are well correlated with the original precipitation series, showing that circulation variability accounts for a substantial fraction of European precipitation variability. Removing the reconstructed precipitation from the original precipitation leaves a residual component related to noncirculation effects (and any small remaining circulation effects). Intermodel spread in residual future European precipitation trends is substantially reduced compared to the spread of the original precipitation trends. Uncertainty in future atmospheric circulation accounts for more than half of the intermodel variance in twenty-first-century precipitation trends for winter months for both northern and southern Europe. Furthermore, a substantial part of this variance is related to different forced dynamical responses in different models and is therefore potentially reducible. These results highlight the importance of understanding future changes in atmospheric dynamics in achieving more robust projections of regional climate change. Finally, the possible dynamical mechanisms that may drive the future differences in regional circulation and precipitation are illustrated by examining simulated teleconnections with tropical precipitation.

Open access
Hye-Mi Kim, Yoo-Geun Ham, and Adam A. Scaife

Abstract

The prediction skill and errors in surface temperature anomalies in initialized decadal hindcasts from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) are assessed using six ocean–atmosphere coupled models initialized every year from 1961 to 2008. The initialized hindcasts show relatively high prediction skill over the regions where external forcing dominates, indicating that a large portion of the prediction skill is due to the long-term trend. After removing the linear trend, high prediction skill is shown near the centers of action of the dominant decadal climate oscillations, such as the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO). Low prediction skill appears over the tropical and eastern North Pacific Ocean where the predicted anomaly patterns associated with the PDO are systematically different in model and observations. By statistically correcting those systematic errors using a stepwise pattern projection method (SPPM) based on the data in an independent training period, the prediction skill of sea surface temperature (SST) is greatly enhanced over the North Pacific Ocean. The SST prediction skill over the North Pacific Ocean after the SPPM error correction is as high as that over the North Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the prediction skill in a single model after correction exceeds the skill of the multimodel ensemble (MME) mean before correction, implying that the MME method is not as effective in addressing systematic errors as the SPPM correction.

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Bo Pang, Adam A. Scaife, Riyu Lu, and Rongcai Ren

Abstract

This study investigates the stratosphere-troposphere coupling associated with the Scandinavian (SCA) pattern in boreal winter. The results indicate that the SCA impacts stratospheric circulation but that its positive and negative phases have different effects. The positive phase of the SCA (SCA+) pattern is restricted to the troposphere, but the negative phase (SCA) extends to the upper stratosphere. The asymmetry between phases is also visible in the lead-lag evolution of the stratosphere and troposphere. Prominent stratospheric anomalies are found to be intensified following SCA+ events, but prior to SCA events. Further analysis reveals that the responses are associated with upward propagation of planetary waves, especially wavenumber 1 which is asymmetric between SCA phases. The wave amplitudes in the stratosphere, originating from the troposphere, are enhanced after the SCA+ events and before the SCA events. Furthermore, the anomalous planetary wave activity can be understood through its interference with climatological stationary waves. Constructive wave interference is accompanied by clear upward propagation in the SCA+ events, while destructive interference suppresses stratospheric waves in the SCA events. Our results also reveal that the SCA+ events are more likely to be followed by sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events, because of the deceleration of stratospheric westerlies following the SCA+ events.

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Bo Pang, Adam A. Scaife, Riyu Lu, and Rongcai Ren

Abstract

This study investigates the stratosphere–troposphere coupling associated with the Scandinavian (SCA) pattern in boreal winter. The results indicate that the SCA impacts stratospheric circulation but that its positive and negative phases have different effects. The positive phase of the SCA (SCA+) pattern is restricted to the troposphere, but the negative phase (SCA) extends to the upper stratosphere. The asymmetry between phases is also visible in the lead–lag evolution of the stratosphere and troposphere. Prominent stratospheric anomalies are found to be intensified following SCA+ events, but prior to SCA events. Further analysis reveals that the responses are associated with upward propagation of planetary waves, especially wavenumber 1, which is asymmetric between SCA phases. The wave amplitudes in the stratosphere, originating from the troposphere, are enhanced after the SCA+ events and before the SCA events. Furthermore, the anomalous planetary wave activity can be understood through its interference with climatological stationary waves. Constructive wave interference is accompanied by clear upward propagation in the SCA+ events, while destructive interference suppresses stratospheric waves in the SCA events. Our results also reveal that the SCA+ events are more likely to be followed by sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events, because of the deceleration of stratospheric westerlies following the SCA+ events.

Open access
Christopher D. Warner, Adam A. Scaife, and Neal Butchart

Abstract

This paper investigates the vertical filtering of parameterized gravity wave pseudomomentum flux in the troposphere–stratosphere version of the Met Office Unified Model. Gravity wave forcing is parameterized using the Warner and McIntyre spectral gravity wave parameterization. The same amount of isotropic pseudomomentum flux per unit mass is launched from the planetary boundary layer at each grid point. The parameterization models the azimuthally dependent Doppler shifting and breaking of the gravity wave spectrum as it is filtered by the background atmosphere. The result is an anisotropic distribution of pseudomomentum flux among azimuthal sectors that varies greatly with altitude and location. This gives an idealized global climatology of nonorographic gravity waves. The filtering effect of the atmosphere in this climatology is diagnosed using the “zonal anisotropy.”

Results show areas where observational measurements could be targeted to find the most prominent features in the gravity wave field. Such areas include, for example, the summer stratosphere where zonal anisotropy is very large and where there is a significant localization in latitude and longitude of patches of high zonal anisotropy. Comparisons are also made with recent observational estimates of gravity wave fluxes and test whether wind filtering of a homogeneous, azimuthally isotropic source is enough to reproduce observed features of the gravity wave field.

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Erik W. Kolstad, Stefan P. Sobolowski, and Adam A. Scaife

Abstract

Recent periods of extreme weather in Europe, such as the cold winter of 2009/10, have caused widespread impacts and were remarkable because of their persistence. It is therefore of great interest to improve the ability to forecast such events. Weather forecasts at midlatitudes generally show low skill beyond 5–10 days, but long-range forecast skill may increase during extended tropospheric blocking episodes or perturbations of the stratospheric polar vortex, which can affect midlatitude weather for several weeks at a time. Here a simple, linear approach is used to identify previously undocumented persistence in northern European summer and winter temperature anomalies in climate model simulations, corroborated by observations and reanalysis data. For instance, temperature anomalies of at least one standard deviation above or below climatology in March were found to be about 20%–120% more likely than normal if the preceding February was anomalous by 0.5–1.5 standard deviations (with the same sign). The corresponding range for April (i.e., persistence over two months) is between 20% and 80%. The persistence is observed irrespective of the data source or driving mechanisms, and the temperature itself is a more skillful predictor of the temperatures one month ahead than the stratospheric polar vortex or the NAO and even than both factors together. The results suggest potential to conditionally improve the skill of long-range forecasts and enhance recent advancements in dynamical seasonal prediction.

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Adam A. Scaife, Carlo Buontempo, Mark Ringer, Mike Sanderson, Chris Gordon, and John F. B. Mitchell

Abstract

No Abstract available.

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Amanda C. Maycock, Manoj M. Joshi, Keith P. Shine, and Adam A. Scaife

Abstract

Observations show that stratospheric water vapor (SWV) concentrations increased by ~30% between 1980 and 2000. SWV has also been projected to increase by up to a factor of 2 over the twenty-first century. Trends in SWV impact stratospheric temperatures, which may lead to changes in the stratospheric circulation. Perturbations in temperature and wind in the stratosphere have been shown to influence the extratropical tropospheric circulation. This study investigates the response to a uniform doubling in SWV from 3 to 6 ppmv in a comprehensive stratosphere-resolving atmospheric GCM. The increase in SWV causes stratospheric cooling with a maximum amplitude of 5–6 K in the polar lower stratosphere and 2–3 K in the tropical lower stratosphere. The zonal wind on the upper flanks of the subtropical jets is more westerly by up to ~5 m s−1. Changes in resolved wave drag in the stratosphere result in an increase in the strength of tropical upwelling associated with the Brewer–Dobson circulation of ~10% throughout the year. In the troposphere, the increase in SWV causes significant meridional dipole changes in the midlatitude zonal-mean zonal wind of up to 2.8 m s−1 at 850 hPa, which are largest in boreal winter in both hemispheres. This suggests a more poleward storm track under uniformly increased stratospheric water vapor. The circulation changes in both the stratosphere and troposphere are almost entirely due to the increase in SWV at pressures greater than 50 hPa. The results show that long-term trends in SWV may impact stratospheric temperatures and wind, the strength of the Brewer–Dobson circulation, and extratropical surface climate.

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Adam A. Scaife, Chris K. Folland, Lisa V. Alexander, Anders Moberg, and Jeff R. Knight

Abstract

The authors estimate the change in extreme winter weather events over Europe that is due to a long-term change in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) such as that observed between the 1960s and 1990s. Using ensembles of simulations from a general circulation model, large changes in the frequency of 10th percentile temperature and 90th percentile precipitation events over Europe are found from changes in the NAO. In some cases, these changes are comparable to the expected change in the frequency of events due to anthropogenic forcing over the twenty-first century. Although the results presented here do not affect anthropogenic interpretation of global and annual mean changes in observed extremes, they do show that great care is needed to assess changes due to modes of climate variability when interpreting extreme events on regional and seasonal scales. How changes in natural modes of variability, such as the NAO, could radically alter current climate model predictions of changes in extreme weather events on multidecadal time scales is also discussed.

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Blanca Ayarzagüena, Sarah Ineson, Nick J. Dunstone, Mark P. Baldwin, and Adam A. Scaife

Abstract

It is well established that El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) impacts the North Atlantic–European (NAE) climate, with the strongest influence in winter. In late winter, the ENSO signal travels via both tropospheric and stratospheric pathways to the NAE sector and often projects onto the North Atlantic Oscillation. However, this signal does not strengthen gradually during winter, and some studies have suggested that the ENSO signal is different between early and late winter and that the teleconnections involved in the early winter subperiod are not well understood. In this study, we investigate the ENSO teleconnection to NAE in early winter (November–December) and characterize the possible mechanisms involved in that teleconnection. To do so, observations, reanalysis data and the output of different types of model simulations have been used. We show that the intraseasonal winter shift of the NAE response to ENSO is detected for both El Niño and La Niña and is significant in both observations and initialized predictions, but it is not reproduced by free-running Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) models. The teleconnection is established through the troposphere in early winter and is related to ENSO effects over the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea that appear in rainfall and reach the NAE region. CMIP5 model biases in equatorial Pacific ENSO sea surface temperature patterns and strength appear to explain the lack of signal in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea and, hence, their inability to reproduce the intraseasonal shift of the ENSO signal over Europe.

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