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M. L. R. Liberato
,
J. M. Castanheira
,
L. de la Torre
,
C. C. DaCamara
, and
L. Gimeno

Abstract

A study is performed on the energetics of planetary wave forcing associated with the variability of the northern winter polar vortex. The analysis relies on a three-dimensional normal mode expansion of the atmospheric general circulation that allows partitioning the total (i.e., kinetic + available potential) atmospheric energy into the energy associated with Rossby and inertio-gravity modes with barotropic and baroclinic vertical structures. The analysis mainly departs from traditional ones in respect to the wave forcing, which is here assessed in terms of total energy amounts associated with the waves instead of heat and momentum fluxes. Such an approach provides a sounder framework than traditional ones based on Eliassen–Palm (EP) flux diagnostics of wave propagation and related concepts of refractive indices and critical lines, which are strictly valid only in the cases of small-amplitude waves and in the context of the Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin–Jeffries (WKBJ) approximation.

Positive (negative) anomalies of the energy associated with the first two baroclinic modes of the planetary Rossby wave with zonal wavenumber 1 are followed by a downward progression of negative (positive) anomalies of the vortex strength. A signature of the vortex vacillation is also well apparent in the lagged correlation curves between the wave energy and the vortex strength. The analysis of the correlations between individual Rossby modes and the vortex strength further confirmed the result from linear theory that the waves that force the vortex are those associated with the largest zonal and meridional scales.

The two composite analyses of displacement- and split-type stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) events have revealed different dynamics. Displacement-type SSWs are forced by positive anomalies of the energy associated with the first two baroclinic modes of planetary Rossby waves with zonal wavenumber 1; split-type SSWs are in turn forced by positive anomalies of the energy associated with the planetary Rossby wave with zonal wavenumber 2, and the barotropic mode appears as the most important component. In respect to stratospheric final warming (SFW) events, obtained results suggest that the wave dynamics is similar to the one in displacement-type SSW events.

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J. M. Castanheira
,
M. L. R. Liberato
,
L. de la Torre
,
H-F. Graf
, and
C. C. DaCamara

Abstract

An analysis is performed on the dynamical coupling between the variability of the extratropical stratospheric and tropospheric circulations during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Obtained results provide evidence that in addition to the well-known Charney and Drazin mechanism by which vertical propagation of baroclinic Rossby waves is nonlinearly influenced by the zonal mean zonal wind, topographic forcing constitutes another important mechanism by which nonlinearity is introduced in the troposphere–stratosphere wave-driven coupled variability. On the one hand, vortex variability is forced by baroclinic Rossby wave bursts, with positive (negative) peaks of baroclinic Rossby wave energy occurring during rapid vortex decelerations (accelerations). On the other hand, barotropic Rossby waves of zonal wavenumbers s = 1 and 3 respond to the vortex state, and strong evidence is presented that such a response is mediated by changes of the topographic forcing due to zonal mean zonal wind anomalies progressing downward from the stratosphere. It is shown that wavenumbers s = 1 and 3 are the dominant Fourier components of the topography in the high-latitude belt where the zonal mean zonal wind anomalies are stronger; moreover, obtained results are in qualitative agreement with the analytical solution provided by the simple topographic wave model of Charney and Eliassen. Finally, evidence is provided that changes of barotropic long (s ≤ 3) Rossby waves associated with vortex variability reproduce a NAO-like dipole over the Atlantic Ocean but no dipole is formed over the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, results suggest that the nonlinear wave response to topographic forcing may explain the spatial changes of the NAO correlation patterns that have been found in previous studies.

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J. M. Castanheira
,
M. L. R. Liberato
,
L. de la Torre
,
H-F. Graf
, and
A. Rocha

Abstract

The annular variability of the northern winter extratropical circulation is reassessed based on reanalysis data that are dynamically filtered by normal modes. One-half of the variability of the monthly averaged barotropic zonally symmetric circulation of the Northern Hemisphere is statistically distinct from the remaining variability and is represented by its leading empirical orthogonal function (EOF) alone. The daily time series of the circulation anomalies projected onto the leading EOF is highly correlated (r ≥ 0.7) with the lower-stratospheric northern annular mode (NAM) indices showing that annular variability extends from the stratosphere deep into the troposphere. However, the geopotential and wind anomalies associated with the leading principal component (PC1) of the barotropic zonally symmetric circulation are displaced northward relative to the zonal mean anomalies associated with the PC1 of the geopotential height variability at single-isobaric tropospheric levels. The regression pattern of the 500-hPa geopotential height (Z500) onto the lower-stratospheric NAM also shows zonally symmetric components displaced northward with respect to those of the leading EOF of the Z500 field.

A principal component analysis (PCA) of the residual variability of the Z500 field remaining after the substraction of the Z500 regressed onto the lower-stratospheric NAM index also reveals a pattern with a zonally symmetric component at midlatitudes. However, this zonally symmetric component appears as the second EOF of the residual variability and is the imprint of two independent dipoles over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Results show that a zonally symmetric component of the middle- and lower-tropospheric circulation variability exists at high latitudes. At the middle latitudes, the zonally symmetric component, if any exists, is artificially overemphasized by the PCA on single-isobaric tropospheric levels.

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Markus Rapp
,
Bernd Kaifler
,
Andreas Dörnbrack
,
Sonja Gisinger
,
Tyler Mixa
,
Robert Reichert
,
Natalie Kaifler
,
Stefanie Knobloch
,
Ramona Eckert
,
Norman Wildmann
,
Andreas Giez
,
Lukas Krasauskas
,
Peter Preusse
,
Markus Geldenhuys
,
Martin Riese
,
Wolfgang Woiwode
,
Felix Friedl-Vallon
,
Björn-Martin Sinnhuber
,
Alejandro de la Torre
,
Peter Alexander
,
Jose Luis Hormaechea
,
Diego Janches
,
Markus Garhammer
,
Jorge L. Chau
,
J. Federico Conte
,
Peter Hoor
, and
Andreas Engel

Abstract

The southern part of South America and the Antarctic peninsula are known as the world’s strongest hotspot region of stratospheric gravity wave (GW) activity. Large tropospheric winds are deflected by the Andes and the Antarctic Peninsula and excite GWs that might propagate into the upper mesosphere. Satellite observations show large stratospheric GW activity above the mountains, the Drake Passage, and in a belt centered along 60°S. This scientifically highly interesting region for studying GW dynamics was the focus of the Southern Hemisphere Transport, Dynamics, and Chemistry–Gravity Waves (SOUTHTRAC-GW) mission. The German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO) was deployed to Rio Grande at the southern tip of Argentina in September 2019. Seven dedicated research flights with a typical length of 7,000 km were conducted to collect GW observations with the novel Airborne Lidar for Middle Atmosphere research (ALIMA) instrument and the Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere (GLORIA) limb sounder. While ALIMA measures temperatures in the altitude range from 20 to 90 km, GLORIA observations allow characterization of temperatures and trace gas mixing ratios from 5 to 15 km. Wave perturbations are derived by subtracting suitable mean profiles. This paper summarizes the motivations and objectives of the SOUTHTRAC-GW mission. The evolution of the atmospheric conditions is documented including the effect of the extraordinary Southern Hemisphere sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) that occurred in early September 2019. Moreover, outstanding initial results of the GW observation and plans for future work are presented.

Open access
Markus Rapp
,
Bernd Kaifler
,
Andreas Dörnbrack
,
Sonja Gisinger
,
Tyler Mixa
,
Robert Reichert
,
Natalie Kaifler
,
Stefanie Knobloch
,
Ramona Eckert
,
Norman Wildmann
,
Andreas Giez
,
Lukas Krasauskas
,
Peter Preusse
,
Markus Geldenhuys
,
Martin Riese
,
Wolfgang Woiwode
,
Felix Friedl-Vallon
,
Björn-Martin Sinnhuber
,
Alejandro de la Torre
,
Peter Alexander
,
Jose Luis Hormaechea
,
Diego Janches
,
Markus Garhammer
,
Jorge L. Chau
,
J. Federico Conte
,
Peter Hoor
, and
Andreas Engel
Full access