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Seok-Woo Son and Sukyoung Lee

Abstract

Intraseasonal variability of the zonal-mean tropical tropopause height is shown to be modulated by localized tropical convection. Most of this convective activity is identified as being part of the Madden–Julian oscillation. While the convection is highly localized over the Pacific warm pool, a large-scale circulation response to the convective heating rapidly warms most of the tropical troposphere and cools most of the lowest few kilometers of the tropical stratosphere. These changes in temperature fields raise the tropical tropopause at most longitudes within 10 days of the convective heating maximum.

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Joowan Kim and Seok-Woo Son

Abstract

The formation of the tropical cold-point tropopause (CPT) is examined using a dry primitive equation model driven by the Held–Suarez forcing. Without moist and realistic radiative processes, the dry model successfully reproduces the zonal-mean structure of the CPT. The modeled CPT is appreciably colder (~10 K) than the prescribed equilibrium temperature, and it is maintained by upwelling in the tropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). A transient simulation starting from an axisymmetric steady state without the CPT shows that the evolution and maintenance of the CPT are closely related to the zonal-mean-flow response to wave driving in the stratosphere. The transformed Eulerian-mean analysis indicates that the wave driving is mostly due to convergence of synoptic-scale waves originating from the midlatitude troposphere and propagating into the subtropical UTLS in this model simulation. The modeled CPT also shows a large sensitivity to increased baroclinicity in the equilibrium temperature. Although planetary-scale waves are not considered in this simulation, the result confirms that wave-driven upwelling in the tropical UTLS is a crucial process for the formation and maintenance of the CPT. In addition, it also implies that synoptic-scale waves may play a nonnegligible role in this mechanism, particularly in the seasons when planetary-scale wave activity in the lower stratosphere is weak.

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Ariaan Purich and Seok-Woo Son

Abstract

The possible impact of Antarctic ozone depletion and recovery on Southern Hemisphere (SH) mean and extreme precipitation and evaporation is examined using multimodel output from the Climate Model Intercomparison Project 3 (CMIP3). By grouping models into four sets, those with and without ozone depletion in twentieth-century climate simulations and those with and without ozone recovery in twenty-first-century climate simulations, and comparing their multimodel-mean trends, it is shown that Antarctic ozone forcings significantly modulate extratropical precipitation changes in austral summer. The impact on evaporation trends is however minimal, especially in twentieth-century climate simulations. In general, ozone depletion has increased (decreased) precipitation in high latitudes (midlatitudes), in agreement with the poleward displacement of the westerly jet and associated storm tracks by Antarctic ozone depletion. Although weaker, the opposite is also true for ozone recovery. These precipitation changes are primarily associated with changes in light precipitation (1–10 mm day−1). Contributions by very light precipitation (0.1–1 mm day−1) and moderate-to-heavy precipitation (>10 mm day−1) are minor. Likewise, no systematic changes are found in extreme precipitation events, although extreme surface wind events are highly sensitive to ozone forcings. This result indicates that, while extratropical mean precipitation trends are significantly modulated by ozone-induced large-scale circulation changes, extreme precipitation changes are likely more sensitive to thermodynamic processes near the surface than to dynamical processes in the free atmosphere.

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Seok-Woo Son and Sukyoung Lee

Abstract

Spatial structure of annular modes shows a remarkable resemblance to that of the recent trend in the observed circulation (Thompson et al.). This study performs a series of multilevel primitive equation model simulations to examine the extent to which the annular mode is capable of predicting changes in the zonal-mean flow response to external heat perturbations. Each of these simulations represents a statistically steady state and differs from each other in the values of the imposed tropical heating (H) and high-latitude cooling (C).

Defining the annular mode as the first empirical orthogonal function (EOF1) of zonal-mean tropospheric zonal wind, it is found that the “climate predictability” is generally high in the small C–large H region of the parameter space, but is markedly low in the large C–small H region. In the former region, EOF1 represents meridional meandering of the midlatitude jet, while in the latter region, EOF1 and EOF2 combine to represent coherent poleward propagation of zonal-mean flow anomalies. It is also found that the climate predictability tends to be higher with respect to changes in C than to changes in H. The implications of these findings for the Southern Hemisphere climate predictability are also presented.

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Patrick Martineau and Seok-Woo Son

Abstract

To highlight the details of stratosphere–troposphere dynamical coupling during the onset of strong polar vortex variability, this study identifies stratospheric vortex weakening (SVW) events by rapid deceleration of the polar vortex and performs composite budget analyses in the transformed Eulerian-mean (TEM) framework on daily time scales. Consistent with previous work, a rapid deceleration of the polar vortex, followed by a rather slow recovery, is largely explained by conservative dynamics with nonnegligible contribution by nonconservative sinks of wave activity. During the onset of such events, stratospheric zonal wind anomalies show a near-instantaneous vertical coupling to the troposphere, which results from an anomalous upward and poleward propagation of planetary-scale waves. In the troposphere, zonal wind anomalies are also influenced by synoptic-scale waves, confirming previous studies.

The SVW events driven by wavenumber-1 disturbances show comparable circulation anomalies to those driven by wavenumber-2 disturbances both in the stratosphere and troposphere. The former, however, exhibits more persistent anomalies after the onset than the latter. During both events, tropospheric wavenumber-1 and 2 disturbances project strongly onto the climatological waves, indicating that vertical propagation of planetary-scale waves into the stratosphere is largely caused by constructive linear interference. It is also found that the SVW-related vertical coupling is somewhat sensitive to the stratospheric mean state. Although overall evolution of zonal-mean circulation anomalies are reasonably similar under an initially weak or strong polar vortex, the time-lagged downward coupling is evident only when the polar vortex is decelerated under a weak vortex state. These results are compared with other definitions of weak polar vortex events, such as stratospheric sudden warming events.

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Seok-Woo Son and Sukyoung Lee

Abstract

The structure of westerly jets in a statistically steady state is investigated with both dry and moist models on the sphere. The dry model is forced with an idealized radiative equilibrium temperature profile that consists of a global-scale base profile plus both localized tropical heating and high-latitude cooling. The tropical heating controls the intensity of the subtropical jet, while the high-latitude cooling modulates the meridional width of the extratropical baroclinic zone.

The jet structure is analyzed with a large number of dry model runs in which the tropical heating and high-latitude cooling rates are systematically varied. This parameter study shows that, in a regime with weak tropical heating and strong high-latitude cooling, the polar-front jet separates itself from the subtropical jet, forming a double-jet state. In contrast, if the tropical heating rate is greater than a certain value, a strong single jet emerges, indicating that the presence of one or two jets in a statistically steady state is dependent upon the relative values of both the tropical heating and the baroclinic zone width.

A set of moist model runs is examined in which the moisture content is systematically varied. For a relatively small moisture content, the circulation prefers a double-jet state. However, for a moisture content that is greater than a certain threshold value, the two jets collapse into a single jet. With the aid of the aforementioned dry model results, an explanation for this nonlinear response exhibited by the moist model is provided. Based on the results of the dry and moist model calculations, this paper discusses various physical interpretations of the circulation responses to global warming presented in the literature.

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Joowan Kim and Seok-Woo Son

Abstract

The finescale structure of the tropical cold-point tropopause (CPT) is examined using high-resolution temperature profiles derived from Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) global positioning system (GPS) radio occultation measurements for 4 yr from September 2006 to August 2010. The climatology, seasonal cycle, and intraseasonal variability are analyzed for three CPT properties: temperature (T-CPT), pressure (P-CPT), and sharpness (S-CPT). Their relationships with tropospheric and stratospheric processes are also discussed.

The climatological P-CPT is largely homogeneous in the deep tropics, whereas T-CPT and S-CPT exhibit local minima and maxima, respectively, at the equator in the vicinity of deep convection regions. All three CPT properties, however, show coherent seasonal cycle in the tropics; the CPT is colder, higher (lower in pressure), and sharper during boreal winter than during boreal summer. This seasonality is consistent with the seasonal cycle of tropical upwelling, which is largely driven by stratospheric and near-tropopause processes, although the amplitude of the seasonal cycle of T-CPT and S-CPT is modulated by tropospheric circulations. On intraseasonal time scales, P-CPT and T-CPT exhibit homogeneous variability in the deep tropics, whereas S-CPT shows pronounced local variability and seasonality. The wavenumber–frequency spectra reveal that intraseasonal variability of CPT properties is primarily controlled by Kelvin waves, with a nonnegligible contribution by Madden–Julian oscillation convection. The Kelvin waves, which are excited by deep convection but often propagate along the equator freely, explain the homogeneous P-CPT and T-CPT variabilities. On the other hand, the vertically tilted dipole of temperature anomalies, which is associated with convectively coupled equatorial waves, determines the local structure and seasonality of S-CPT variability.

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Kanghyun Song and Seok-Woo Son

Abstract

Stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) events exhibit pronounced interannual variability. Based on zonal wind reversals at 60°N and 10 hPa, it has been suggested that SSW events occur more preferentially during El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) winters (both El Niño and La Niña winters) than during ENSO-neutral winters. This relationship is reevaluated here by considering seven different SSW definitions. For all definitions, SSW events are detected more frequently during El Niño winters than during ENSO-neutral winters, in agreement with a strengthened planetary-scale wave activity. However, such a systematic relationship is not found during La Niña winters. While three SSW definitions, including the wind-reversal definition, show a higher SSW frequency during La Niña winters than during ENSO-neutral winters, other definitions show no difference or even lower SSW frequency during La Niña winters. This result, which is qualitatively insensitive to the choice of reanalysis datasets, ENSO indices, and SST datasets, indicates that the reported ENSO–SSW relationship is dependent on the details of the SSW definition. This result is interpreted in terms of different background wind, latitudinal extent of wind reversal, and planetary-scale wave activity during El Niño and La Niña winter SSW events.

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Patrick Martineau, Seok-Woo Son, and Masakazu Taguchi
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Yuna Lim, Seok-Woo Son, and Daehyun Kim

Abstract

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), the dominant mode of tropical intraseasonal variability, provides a major source of tropical and extratropical predictability on a subseasonal time scale. This study conducts a quantitative evaluation of the MJO prediction skill in state-of-the-art operational models, participating in the subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) prediction project. The relationship of MJO prediction skill with model biases in the mean moisture fields and in the longwave cloud–radiation feedbacks is also investigated.

The S2S models exhibit MJO prediction skill out to a range of 12 to 36 days. The MJO prediction skills in the S2S models are affected by both the MJO amplitude and phase errors, with the latter becoming more important at longer forecast lead times. Consistent with previous studies, MJO events with stronger initial MJO amplitude are typically better predicted. It is found that the sensitivity to the initial MJO phase varies notably from model to model.

In most models, a notable dry bias develops within a few days of forecast lead time in the deep tropics, especially across the Maritime Continent. The dry bias weakens the horizontal moisture gradient over the Indian Ocean and western Pacific, likely dampening the organization and propagation of the MJO. Most S2S models also underestimate the longwave cloud–radiation feedbacks in the tropics, which may affect the maintenance of the MJO convective envelope. The models with smaller bias in the mean horizontal moisture gradient and the longwave cloud–radiation feedbacks show higher MJO prediction skills, suggesting that improving those biases would enhance MJO prediction skill of the operational models.

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