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James S. Risbey
,
Didier P. Monselesan
,
Amanda S. Black
,
Thomas S. Moore
,
Doug Richardson
,
Dougal T. Squire
, and
Carly R. Tozer

Abstract

From time to time atmospheric flows become organized and form coherent long-lived structures. Such structures could be propagating, quasi-stationary, or recur in place. We investigate the ability of principal components analysis (PCA) and archetypal analysis (AA) to identify long-lived events, excluding propagating forms. Our analysis is carried out on the Southern Hemisphere midtropospheric flow represented by geopotential height at 500 hPa (Z 500). The leading basis patterns of Z 500 for PCA and AA are similar and describe structures representing (or similar to) the southern annular mode (SAM) and Pacific–South American (PSA) pattern. Long-lived events are identified here from sequences of 8 days or longer where the same basis pattern dominates for PCA or AA. AA identifies more long-lived events than PCA using this approach. The most commonly occurring long-lived event for both AA and PCA is the annular SAM-like pattern. The second most commonly occurring event is the PSA-like Pacific wave train for both AA and PCA. For AA the flow at any given time is approximated as weighted contributions from each basis pattern, which lends itself to metrics for discriminating among basis patterns. These show that the longest long-lived events are in general better expressed than shorter events. Case studies of long-lived events featuring a blocking structure and an annular structure show that both PCA and AA can identify and discriminate the dominant basis pattern that most closely resembles the flow event.

Full access
James S. Risbey
,
Didier P. Monselesan
,
Terence J. O’Kane
,
Carly R. Tozer
,
Michael J. Pook
, and
Peter T. Hayman

Abstract

We define and examine extreme frost events at three station locations across southern Australia. A synoptic assessment of the events shows that they are generally characterized by passage of a front or trough followed by a developing blocking high. Frost typically occurs at the leading edge of the block. The very cold air pool leading to the frost event is the result of descent of cold, dry midtropospheric air parcels from regions poleward of the station. The air is exceptionally cold because it is advected across the strong meridional temperature gradients in the storm track. The air is dry because this equatorward meridional pathway requires descent and so must have origins well above the surface in the dryer midtroposphere. The position of the block and location of the dry descent are dynamically determined by large-scale waveguide modes in the polar jet waveguide. The role of the waveguide modes is deduced from composites of midtropospheric flow anomalies over the days preceding and after the frost events. These show organized wavenumber 3 or 4 wave trains, with the block associated with the frost formed as a node of the wave train. The wave trains resemble known waveguide modes such as the Pacific–South America mode, and the frost event projects clearly onto these modes during their life cycle. The strong interannual and decadal variability of extreme frost events at a location can be understood in light of event dependence on organized waveguide modes.

Full access
Carly R. Tozer
,
James S. Risbey
,
Didier P. Monselesan
,
Dougal T. Squire
,
Matthew A. Chamberlain
,
Richard J. Matear
, and
Tilo Ziehn

Abstract

We assess the representation of multiday temperature and rainfall extremes in southeast Australia in three coupled general circulation models (GCMs) of varying resolution. We evaluate the statistics of the modeled extremes in terms of their frequency, duration, and magnitude compared to observations, and the model representation of the midtropospheric circulation (synoptic and large scale) associated with the extremes. We find that the models capture the statistics of observed heatwaves reasonably well, though some models are “too wet” to adequately capture the observed duration of dry spells but not always wet enough to capture the magnitude of extreme wet events. Despite the inability of the models to simulate all extreme event statistics, the process evaluation indicates that the onset and decay of the observed synoptic structures are well simulated in the models, including for wet and dry extremes. We also show that the large-scale wave train structures associated with the observed extremes are reasonably well simulated by the models although their broader onset and decay is not always captured in the models. The results presented here provide some context for, and confidence in, the use of the coupled GCMs in climate prediction and projection studies for regional extremes.

Free access
Doug Richardson
,
Amanda S. Black
,
Didier P. Monselesan
,
Thomas S. Moore II
,
James S. Risbey
,
Andrew Schepen
,
Dougal T. Squire
, and
Carly R. Tozer

Abstract

Subseasonal forecast skill is not homogeneous in time, and prior assessment of the likely forecast skill would be valuable for end-users. We propose a method for identifying periods of high forecast confidence using atmospheric circulation patterns, with an application to southern Australia precipitation. In particular, we use archetypal analysis to derive six patterns, called archetypes, of daily 500-hPa geopotential height (Z 500) fields over Australia. We assign Z 500 reanalysis fields to the closest-matching archetype and subsequently link the archetypes to precipitation for three key regions in the Australian agriculture and energy sectors: the Murray Basin, southwest Western Australia, and western Tasmania. Using a 20-yr hindcast dataset from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction system, we identify periods of high confidence as when hindcast Z 500 fields closely match an archetype according to a distance criterion. We compare the precipitation hindcast accuracy during these confident periods compared to normal. Considering all archetypes, we show that there is greater skill during confident periods for lead times of less than 10 days in the Murray Basin and western Tasmania, and for greater than 6 days in southwest Western Australia, although these conclusions are subject to substantial uncertainty. By breaking down the skill results for each archetype individually, we highlight how skill tends to be greater than normal for those archetypes associated with drier-than-average conditions.

Open access
Carly R. Tozer
,
James S. Risbey
,
Terence J. O’Kane
,
Didier P. Monselesan
, and
Michael J. Pook

Abstract

We assess the large-scale atmospheric dynamics influencing rainfall extremes in Tasmania, located within the Southern Hemisphere storm track. We characterize wet and dry multiday rainfall extremes in western and eastern Tasmania, two distinct climate regimes, and construct atmospheric flow composites around these extreme events. We consider the onset and decay of the events and find a link between Rossby wave trains propagating in the polar jet waveguide and wet and dry extremes across Tasmania. Of note is that the wave trains exhibit varying behavior during the different extremes. In the onset phase of rainfall extremes in western Tasmania, there is a coherent wave train in the Indian Ocean, which becomes circumglobal in extent and quasi-stationary as the event establishes and persists. Wet and dry extremes in this region are influenced by opposite phases of this circumglobal wave train pattern. In eastern Tasmania, wet extremes relate to a propagating wave train, which is first established in the Indian Ocean sector and propagates eastward to the Pacific Ocean sector as the event progresses. During dry extremes in eastern Tasmania, the wave train is first established in the Pacific Ocean, as opposed to Indian Ocean, and persists in this sector for the entire event, with a structure indicative of the Pacific–South American pattern. The findings regarding different wave train forms and their relationship to rainfall extremes have implications for extreme event attribution in other regions around the globe.

Full access
Amanda S. Black
,
James S. Risbey
,
Christopher C. Chapman
,
Didier P. Monselesan
,
Thomas S. Moore II
,
Michael J. Pook
,
Doug Richardson
,
Bernadette M. Sloyan
,
Dougal T. Squire
, and
Carly R. Tozer

Abstract

Large-scale cloud features referred to as cloudbands are known to be related to widespread and heavy rain via the transport of tropical heat and moisture to higher latitudes. The Australian northwest cloudband is such a feature that has been identified in simple searches of satellite imagery but with limited investigation of its atmospheric dynamical support. An accurate, long-term climatology of northwest cloudbands is key to robustly assessing these events. A dynamically based search algorithm has been developed that is guided by the presence and orientation of the subtropical jet stream. This jet stream is the large-scale atmospheric feature that determines the development and alignment of a cloudband. Using a new 40-yr dataset of cloudband events compiled by this search algorithm, composite atmospheric and ocean surface conditions over the period 1979–2018 have been assessed. Composite cloudband upper-level flow revealed a tilted low pressure trough embedded in a Rossby wave train. Composites of vertically integrated water vapor transport centered around the jet maximum during northwest cloudband events reveal a distinct atmospheric river supplying tropical moisture for cloudband rainfall. Parcel backtracking indicated multiple regions of moisture support for cloudbands. A thermal wind anomaly orientated with respect to an enhanced sea surface temperature gradient over the Indian Ocean was also a key composite cloudband feature. A total of 300 years of a freely coupled control simulation of the ACCESS-D system was assessed for its ability to simulate northwest cloudbands. Composite analysis of model cloudbands compared reasonably well to reanalysis despite some differences in seasonality and frequency of occurrence.

Full access
Amanda S. Black
,
Didier P. Monselesan
,
James S. Risbey
,
Bernadette M. Sloyan
,
Christopher C. Chapman
,
Abdelwaheb Hannachi
,
Doug Richardson
,
Dougal T. Squire
,
Carly R. Tozer
, and
Nikolay Trendafilov

Abstract

The ability to find and recognize patterns in high-dimensional geophysical data is fundamental to climate science and critical for meaningful interpretation of weather and climate processes. Archetypal analysis (AA) is one technique that has recently gained traction in the geophysical science community for its ability to find patterns based on extreme conditions. While traditional empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis can reveal patterns based on data covariance, AA seeks patterns from the points located at the edges of the data distribution. The utility of any objective pattern method depends on the properties of the data to which it is applied and the choices made in implementing the method. Given the relative novelty of the application of AA in geophysics it is important to develop experience in applying the method. We provide an assessment of the method, implementation, sensitivity, and interpretation of AA with respect to geophysical data. As an example for demonstration, we apply AA to a 39-yr sea surface temperature (SST) reanalysis dataset. We show that the decisions made to implement AA can significantly affect the interpretation of results, but also, in the case of SST, that the analysis is exceptionally robust under both spatial and temporal coarse graining.

Significance Statement

Archetypal analysis (AA), when applied to geophysical fields, is a technique designed to find typical configurations or modes in underlying data. This technique is relatively new to the geophysical science community and has been shown to be beneficial to the interpretation of extreme modes of the climate system. The identification of extreme modes of variability and their expression in day-to-day weather or state of the climate at longer time scales may help in elucidating the interplay between major teleconnection drivers and their evolution in a changing climate. The purpose of this work is to bring together a comprehensive report of the AA methodology using an SST reanalysis for demonstration. It is shown that the AA results are significantly affected by each implementation decision, but also can be resilient to spatiotemporal averaging. Any application of AA should provide a clear documentation of the choices made in applying the method.

Free access
Carly R. Tozer
,
James S. Risbey
,
Michael Grose
,
Didier P. Monselesan
,
Dougal T. Squire
,
Amanda S. Black
,
Doug Richardson
,
Sarah N. Sparrow
,
Sihan Li
, and
David Wallom
Free access
Christopher J. White
,
Daniela I. V. Domeisen
,
Nachiketa Acharya
,
Elijah A. Adefisan
,
Michael L. Anderson
,
Stella Aura
,
Ahmed A. Balogun
,
Douglas Bertram
,
Sonia Bluhm
,
David J. Brayshaw
,
Jethro Browell
,
Dominik Büeler
,
Andrew Charlton-Perez
,
Xandre Chourio
,
Isadora Christel
,
Caio A. S. Coelho
,
Michael J. DeFlorio
,
Luca Delle Monache
,
Francesca Di Giuseppe
,
Ana María García-Solórzano
,
Peter B. Gibson
,
Lisa Goddard
,
Carmen González Romero
,
Richard J. Graham
,
Robert M. Graham
,
Christian M. Grams
,
Alan Halford
,
W. T. Katty Huang
,
Kjeld Jensen
,
Mary Kilavi
,
Kamoru A. Lawal
,
Robert W. Lee
,
David MacLeod
,
Andrea Manrique-Suñén
,
Eduardo S. P. R. Martins
,
Carolyn J. Maxwell
,
William J. Merryfield
,
Ángel G. Muñoz
,
Eniola Olaniyan
,
George Otieno
,
John A. Oyedepo
,
Lluís Palma
,
Ilias G. Pechlivanidis
,
Diego Pons
,
F. Martin Ralph
,
Dirceu S. Reis Jr.
,
Tomas A. Remenyi
,
James S. Risbey
,
Donald J. C. Robertson
,
Andrew W. Robertson
,
Stefan Smith
,
Albert Soret
,
Ting Sun
,
Martin C. Todd
,
Carly R. Tozer
,
Francisco C. Vasconcelos Jr.
,
Ilaria Vigo
,
Duane E. Waliser
,
Fredrik Wetterhall
, and
Robert G. Wilson

Abstract

The subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) predictive time scale, encompassing lead times ranging from 2 weeks to a season, is at the frontier of forecasting science. Forecasts on this time scale provide opportunities for enhanced application-focused capabilities to complement existing weather and climate services and products. There is, however, a “knowledge–value” gap, where a lack of evidence and awareness of the potential socioeconomic benefits of S2S forecasts limits their wider uptake. To address this gap, here we present the first global community effort at summarizing relevant applications of S2S forecasts to guide further decision-making and support the continued development of S2S forecasts and related services. Focusing on 12 sectoral case studies spanning public health, agriculture, water resource management, renewable energy and utilities, and emergency management and response, we draw on recent advancements to explore their application and utility. These case studies mark a significant step forward in moving from potential to actual S2S forecasting applications. We show that by placing user needs at the forefront of S2S forecast development—demonstrating both skill and utility across sectors—this dialogue can be used to help promote and accelerate the awareness, value, and cogeneration of S2S forecasts. We also highlight that while S2S forecasts are increasingly gaining interest among users, incorporating probabilistic S2S forecasts into existing decision-making operations is not trivial. Nevertheless, S2S forecasting represents a significant opportunity to generate useful, usable, and actionable forecast applications for and with users that will increasingly unlock the potential of this forecasting time scale.

Full access
William J. Merryfield
,
Johanna Baehr
,
Lauriane Batté
,
Emily J. Becker
,
Amy H. Butler
,
Caio A. S. Coelho
,
Gokhan Danabasoglu
,
Paul A. Dirmeyer
,
Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes
,
Daniela I. V. Domeisen
,
Laura Ferranti
,
Tatiana Ilynia
,
Arun Kumar
,
Wolfgang A. Müller
,
Michel Rixen
,
Andrew W. Robertson
,
Doug M. Smith
,
Yuhei Takaya
,
Matthias Tuma
,
Frederic Vitart
,
Christopher J. White
,
Mariano S. Alvarez
,
Constantin Ardilouze
,
Hannah Attard
,
Cory Baggett
,
Magdalena A. Balmaseda
,
Asmerom F. Beraki
,
Partha S. Bhattacharjee
,
Roberto Bilbao
,
Felipe M. de Andrade
,
Michael J. DeFlorio
,
Leandro B. Díaz
,
Muhammad Azhar Ehsan
,
Georgios Fragkoulidis
,
Sam Grainger
,
Benjamin W. Green
,
Momme C. Hell
,
Johnna M. Infanti
,
Katharina Isensee
,
Takahito Kataoka
,
Ben P. Kirtman
,
Nicholas P. Klingaman
,
June-Yi Lee
,
Kirsten Mayer
,
Roseanna McKay
,
Jennifer V. Mecking
,
Douglas E. Miller
,
Nele Neddermann
,
Ching Ho Justin Ng
,
Albert Ossó
,
Klaus Pankatz
,
Simon Peatman
,
Kathy Pegion
,
Judith Perlwitz
,
G. Cristina Recalde-Coronel
,
Annika Reintges
,
Christoph Renkl
,
Balakrishnan Solaraju-Murali
,
Aaron Spring
,
Cristiana Stan
,
Y. Qiang Sun
,
Carly R. Tozer
,
Nicolas Vigaud
,
Steven Woolnough
, and
Stephen Yeager
Full access