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Flávio Justino, Axel Timmermann, Ute Merkel, and Enio P. Souza


A coupled global atmosphere–ocean model of intermediate complexity is used to study the influence of glacial boundary conditions on the atmospheric circulation during the Last Glacial Maximum in a systematical manner. A web of atmospheric interactions is disentangled, which involves changes in the meridional temperature gradient and an associated modulation of the atmospheric baroclinicity. This in turn drives anomalous transient eddy momentum fluxes that feed back onto the zonal mean circulation. Moreover, the modified transient activity (weakened in the North Pacific and strengthened in the North Atlantic) leads to a meridional reorganization of the atmospheric heat transport, thereby feeding back onto the meridional temperature structure. Furthermore, positive barotropic conversion and baroclinic production rates over the Laurentide ice sheets and the far eastern North Pacific have the tendency to decelerate the westerlies, thereby feeding back to the stationary wave changes triggered by orographic forcing.

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Alvaro Avila-Diaz, David H. Bromwich, Aaron B. Wilson, Flavio Justino, and Sheng-Hung Wang


Atmospheric reanalyses are a valuable climate-related resource where in situ data are sparse. However, few studies have investigated the skill of reanalyses to represent extreme climate indices over the North American Arctic, where changes have been rapid and indigenous responses to change are critical. This study investigates temperature and precipitation extremes as defined by the Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI) over a 17-yr period (2000–16) for regional and global reanalyses, namely the Arctic System Reanalysis, version 2 (ASRv2); North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR); European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA5 reanalysis; Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2); and Global Meteorological Forcing Dataset for Land Surface Modeling (GMFD). Results indicate that the best performances are demonstrated by ASRv2 and ERA5. Relative to observations, reanalyses show the weakest performance over far northern basins (e.g., the Arctic and Hudson basins) where observing networks are less dense. Observations and reanalyses show consistent warming with decreased frequency and intensity of cold extremes. Cold days, cold nights, frost days, and ice days have decreased dramatically over the last two decades. Warming can be linked to a simultaneous increase in daily precipitation intensity over several basins in the domain. Moreover, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO) distinctly influence extreme climate indices. Thus, these findings detail the complexity of how the climate of the Arctic is changing, not just in an average sense, but in extreme events that have significant impacts on people and places.

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Flavio Justino, Aaron B. Wilson, David H. Bromwich, Alvaro Avila, Le-Sheng Bai, and Sheng-Hung Wang


Large-scale objectively analyzed gridded products and satellite estimates of sensible (H) and latent (LE) heat fluxes over the extratropical Northern Hemisphere are compared to those derived from the regional Arctic System Reanalysis version 2 (ASRv2) and a selection of current-generation global reanalyses. Differences in H and LE among the reanalyses are strongly linked to the wind speed magnitudes and vegetation cover. Specifically, ASRv2 wind speeds match closely with observations over the northern oceans, leading to an improved representation of H compared to the global reanalyses. Comparison of evaporative fraction shows that the global reanalyses are characterized by a similar H and LE partitioning from April through September, and therefore exhibit weak intraseasonal variability. However, the higher horizontal resolution and weekly modification of the vegetation cover based on satellite data in ASRv2 provides an improved snow–albedo feedback related to changes in the leaf area index. Hence, ASRv2 better captures the small-scale processes associated with day-to-day vegetation feedbacks with particular improvements to the H over land. All of the reanalyses provide realistic dominant hemispheric patterns of H and LE and the locations of maximum and minimum fluxes, but they differ greatly with respect to magnitude. This is especially true for LE over oceanic regions. Therefore, uncertainties in heat fluxes remain that may be alleviated in reanalyses through improved representation of physical processes and enhanced assimilation of observations.

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Claudia K. Parise, Luciano P. Pezzi, Kevin I. Hodges, and Flavio Justino


The study analyzes the sensitivity and memory of the Southern Hemisphere coupled climate system to increased Antarctic sea ice (ASI), taking into account the persistence of the sea ice maxima in the current climate. The mechanisms involved in restoring the climate balance under two sets of experiments, which differ in regard to their sea ice models, are discussed. The experiments are perturbed with extremes of ASI and integrated for 10 yr in a large 30-member ensemble. The results show that an ASI maximum is able to persist for ~4 yr in the current climate, followed by a negative sea ice phase. The sea ice insulating effect during the positive phase reduces heat fluxes south of 60°S, while at the same time these are intensified at the sea ice edge. The increased air stability over the sea ice field strengthens the polar cell while the baroclinicity increases at midlatitudes. The mean sea level pressure is reduced (increased) over high latitudes (midlatitudes), typical of the southern annular mode (SAM) positive phase. The Southern Ocean (SO) becomes colder and fresher as the sea ice melts mainly through sea ice lateral melting, the consequence of which is an increase in the ocean stability by buoyancy and mixing changes. The climate sensitivity is triggered by the sea ice insulating process and the resulting freshwater pulse (fast response), while the climate equilibrium is restored by the heat stored in the SO subsurface layers (long response). It is concluded that the time needed for the ASI anomaly to be dissipated and/or melted is shortened by the sea ice dynamical processes.

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