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Blanca Ayarzagüena
and
Encarna Serrano
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Blanca Ayarzagüena
and
Encarna Serrano

Abstract

In recent decades, there has been a growing interest in the study of a possible active role of the stratosphere on the tropospheric climate. However, most studies have focused on this connection in wintertime. This paper deals with the possible relationship between variations in the timing of stratospheric final warmings (SFWs, observed in springtime) and monthly averaged changes in the Euro-Atlantic climate. On the basis of the date on which the SFW occurs, two sets of years have been selected for the period of study (1958–2002): “early years” and “late years,” reflecting a very early or a very late breakup of the polar vortex. The statistical significance of the early-minus-late differences in the analyzed fields has been established by applying a nonparametric test based on a Monte Carlo–like technique. Using data from 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Re-Analysis (ERA-40), a dynamical study for March and April has shown important differences between both sets of years in stationary waves, especially ultralong ones (waves with k = 1 in March and k = 2 in April). Furthermore, the interannual variations in the stratospheric zonal wind seem to propagate downward as the spring progresses, in such a way that they reach tropospheric levels in April. Relevant differences between “early” and “late” years have been found in tropospheric monthly fields in the Euro-Atlantic area (geopotential, zonal wind, and storm-track activity), being at their most extensive in April.

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Belén Rodríguez-Fonseca
and
Encarna Serrano

Abstract

Ten-day winter anomalous precipitation variability in the Iberian Peninsula (IP), related to the North Atlantic atmospheric general circulation, is analyzed using 24-h forecast ECMWF precipitation data over 1979–96. The three main modes that explain the 10-day winter precipitation variability are described using the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis. Singular value decomposition (SVD) analysis between the anomalous geopotential height for different levels and the IP precipitation is used as a tool to establish the relation between the precipitation and the North Atlantic atmospheric general circulation, showing how the first three SVD modes collect practically all possible precipitation–atmosphere links in these timescales. These resultant SVD atmospheric patterns are related to other known teleconnection patterns, such as the Arctic Oscillation (AO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the Scandinavian pattern (SCA), and the east Atlantic pattern (EA). At the same time, the main results are compared with those obtained from station precipitation data. The good agreement with the significant coupled patterns obtained when using observed precipitation data is shown as a further way of validating the precipitation 24-h forecast of the ECMWF dataset for these types of studies.

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Marta Abalos
,
William J. Randel
, and
Encarna Serrano

Abstract

Upwelling across the tropical tropopause exhibits strong subseasonal variability superimposed on the well-known annual cycle, and these variations directly affect temperature and tracers in the tropical lower stratosphere. In this work, the dynamical forcing of tropical upwelling on subseasonal time scales is investigated using the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) for 1979–2011. Momentum balance diagnostics reveal that transience in lower-stratospheric upwelling is linked to the effects of extratropical wave forcing, with centers of action in the extratropical winter stratosphere and in the subtropical upper troposphere of both hemispheres. The time-dependent forcing in these regions induces a remote coupled response in the zonal mean wind and the meridional circulation (with associated temperature changes), which drives upwelling variability in the tropical stratosphere. This behavior is observed in the reanalysis, consistent with theory. Dynamical patterns reflect distinctive forcing of the shallow versus deep branches of the Brewer–Dobson circulation; the shallow branch is most strongly correlated with wave forcing in the subtropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, while the deep branch is mainly influenced by high-latitude planetary waves.

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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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