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Elizabeth A. Barnes and Randal J. Barnes

Abstract

Two common approaches for estimating a linear trend are 1) simple linear regression and 2) the epoch difference with possibly unequal epoch lengths. The epoch difference estimator for epochs of length M is defined as the difference between the average value over the last M time steps and the average value over the first M time steps divided by NM, where N is the length of the time series. Both simple linear regression and the epoch difference are unbiased estimators for the trend; however, it is demonstrated that the variance of the linear regression estimator is always smaller than the variance of the epoch difference estimator for first-order autoregressive [AR(1)] time series with lag-1 autocorrelations less than about 0.85. It is further shown that under most circumstances if the epoch difference estimator is applied, the optimal epoch lengths are equal and approximately one-third the length of the time series. Additional results are given for the optimal epoch length at one end when the epoch length at the other end is constrained.

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Bryn Ronalds and Elizabeth A. Barnes

Abstract

Previous studies have suggested that, in the zonal mean, the climatological Northern Hemisphere wintertime eddy-driven jet streams will weaken and shift equatorward in response to Arctic amplification and sea ice loss. However, multiple studies have also pointed out that this response has strong regional differences across the two ocean basins, with the North Atlantic jet stream generally weakening across models and the North Pacific jet stream showing signs of strengthening. Based on the zonal wind response with a fully coupled model, this work sets up two case studies using a barotropic model to test a dynamical mechanism that can explain the differences in zonal wind response in the North Pacific versus the North Atlantic. Results indicate that the differences between the two basins are due, at least in part, to differences in the proximity of the jet streams to the sea ice loss, and that in both cases the eddies act to increase the jet speed via changes in wave breaking location and frequency. Thus, while baroclinic arguments may account for an initial reduction in the midlatitude winds through thermal wind balance, eddy–mean flow feedbacks are likely instrumental in determining the final total response and actually act to strengthen the eddy-driven jet stream.

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Elizabeth A. Barnes and Lorenzo Polvani

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This work documents how the midlatitude, eddy-driven jets respond to climate change using model output from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). The authors consider separately the North Atlantic, the North Pacific, and the Southern Hemisphere jets. The analysis is not limited to annual-mean changes in the latitude and speed of the jets, but also explores how the variability of each jet changes with increased greenhouse gases.

All jets are found to migrate poleward with climate change: the Southern Hemisphere jet shifts poleward by 2° of latitude between the historical period and the end of the twenty-first century in the representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenario, whereas both Northern Hemisphere jets shift by only 1°. In addition, the speed of the Southern Hemisphere jet is found to increase markedly (by 1.2 m s−1 between 850 and 700 hPa), while the speed remains nearly constant for both jets in the Northern Hemisphere.

More importantly, it is found that the patterns of jet variability are a strong function of the jet position in all three sectors of the globe, and as the jets shift poleward the patterns of variability change. Specifically, for the Southern Hemisphere and the North Atlantic jets, the variability becomes less of a north–south wobbling and more of a pulsing (i.e., variation in jet speed). In contrast, for the North Pacific jet, the variability becomes less of a pulsing and more of a north–south wobbling. These different responses can be understood in terms of Rossby wave breaking, allowing the authors to explain most of the projected jet changes within a single dynamical framework.

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Chengji Liu and Elizabeth A. Barnes

Abstract

Isentropic mixing is an important process for the distribution of chemical constituents in the mid- to high latitudes. A modified Lagrangian framework is applied to quantify the mixing associated with two distinct types of Rossby wave breaking (i.e., cyclonic and anticyclonic). In idealized numerical simulations, cyclonic wave breaking (CWB) exhibits either comparable or stronger mixing than anticyclonic wave breaking (AWB). Although the frequencies of AWB and CWB both have robust relationships with the jet position, this asymmetry leads to CWB dominating mixing variability related to the jet shifting. In particular, when the jet shifts poleward the mixing strength decreases in areas of the midlatitude troposphere and also decreases on the poleward side of the jet. This is due to decreasing CWB occurrence with a poleward shift of the jet. Across the tropopause, equatorward of the jet, where AWB mostly occurs and CWB rarely occurs, the mixing strength increases as AWB occurs more frequently with a poleward shift of the jet. The dynamical relationship above is expected to be relevant both for internal climate variability, such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the annular modes, and for future climate change that may drive changes in the jet position.

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Marie C. McGraw and Elizabeth A. Barnes

ABSTRACT

Arctic–midlatitude teleconnections are complex and multifaceted. By design, targeted modeling studies typically focus only on one direction of influence—usually, the midlatitude atmospheric response to a changing Arctic. The two-way, coupled feedbacks between the Arctic and the midlatitude circulation on submonthly time scales are explored using a regularized regression model formulated around Granger causality. The regularized regression model indicates that there are regions in which Arctic temperature drives a midlatitude circulation response, and regions in which the midlatitude circulation drives a response in the Arctic; however, these regions rarely overlap. In many regions, on submonthly time scales, the midlatitude circulation drives Arctic temperature variability, highlighting the important role the midlatitude circulation can play in impacting the Arctic. In particular, the regularized regression model results support recent work that indicates that the observed high pressure anomalies over Eurasia drive a significant response in the Arctic on submonthly time scales, rather than being driven by the Arctic.

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Elizabeth A. Barnes and Dennis L. Hartmann

Abstract

The persistence of the southern annular mode (SAM) is studied during austral winter (June–September) and summer (December–March) using observations of the three-dimensional vorticity budget. Analysis of the relative vorticity tendency equation shows that convergence of eddy vorticity flux in the upper troposphere, coupled with a secondary circulation, constitutes a positive eddy feedback that acts to sustain the vorticity anomaly associated with the jet shift against drag. The feedback exhibits a strong seasonality, with summer months revealing a positive feedback through much of the hemisphere and winter months showing a positive feedback over the Indian Ocean but not over the western Pacific. Results suggest that the lack of wintertime feedback over the western Pacific is due to the weakness of the eddy-driven midlatitude jet in that region.

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Elizabeth A. Barnes and Isla R. Simpson

Abstract

Near-surface Arctic warming has been shown to impact the midlatitude jet streams through the use of carefully designed model simulations with and without Arctic sea ice loss. In this work, a Granger causality regression approach is taken to quantify the response of the zonal wind to variability of near-surface Arctic temperatures on subseasonal time scales across the CMIP5 models. Using this technique, a robust influence of regional Arctic warming on the North Atlantic and North Pacific jet stream positions, speeds, and zonal winds is demonstrated. However, Arctic temperatures only explain an additional 3%–5% of the variance of the winds after accounting for the variance associated with the persistence of the wind anomalies from previous weeks. In terms of the jet stream response, the North Pacific and North Atlantic jet streams consistently shift equatorward in response to Arctic warming but also strengthen, rather than weaken, during most months of the year. Furthermore, the sensitivity of the jet stream position and strength to Arctic warming is shown to be a strong function of season. Specifically, in both ocean basins, the jets shift farthest equatorward in the summer months. It is argued that this seasonal sensitivity is due to the Arctic-warming-induced wind anomalies remaining relatively fixed in latitude, while the climatological jet migrates in and out of the anomalies throughout the annual cycle. Based on these results, model differences in the climatological jet stream position are shown to lead to differences in the jet stream position’s sensitivity to Arctic warming.

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Elizabeth A. Barnes and Chaim I. Garfinkel

Abstract

As the surface drag is increased in a comprehensive general circulation model (GCM), the upper-level zonal winds decrease and eddy momentum flux convergence into the jet core increases. Globally averaged eddy kinetic energy decreases, a response that is inconsistent with the conventional barotropic governor mechanism whereby decreased barotropic shears encourage baroclinic wave growth. As the conventional barotropic governor appears insufficient to explain the entire response in the comprehensive GCM, the nondivergent barotropic model on the sphere is used to demonstrate an additional mechanism for the effect of surface drag on eddy momentum fluxes and eddy kinetic energy. Analysis of the pseudomomentum budget shows that increased drag modifies the background meridional vorticity gradient, which allows for enhanced eddy momentum flux convergence and decreased eddy kinetic energy in the presence of a constant eddy source. This additional feedback may explain the changes in eddy momentum fluxes observed in the comprehensive GCM and was likely present in previous work on the barotropic governor.

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Bryn Ronalds, Elizabeth Barnes, and Pedram Hassanzadeh
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Elizabeth A. Barnes and Lorenzo M. Polvani

Abstract

Recent studies have hypothesized that Arctic amplification, the enhanced warming of the Arctic region compared to the rest of the globe, will cause changes in midlatitude weather over the twenty-first century. This study exploits the recently completed phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) and examines 27 state-of-the-art climate models to determine if their projected changes in the midlatitude circulation are consistent with the hypothesized impact of Arctic amplification over North America and the North Atlantic.

Under the largest future greenhouse forcing (RCP8.5), it is found that every model, in every season, exhibits Arctic amplification by 2100. At the same time, the projected circulation responses are either opposite in sign to those hypothesized or too widely spread among the models to discern any robust change. However, in a few seasons and for some of the circulation metrics examined, correlations are found between the model spread in Arctic amplification and the model spread in the projected circulation changes. Therefore, while the CMIP5 models offer some evidence that future Arctic warming may be able to modulate some aspects of the midlatitude circulation response in some seasons, the analysis herein leads to the conclusion that the net circulation response in the future is unlikely to be determined solely—or even primarily—by Arctic warming according to the sequence of events recently hypothesized.

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