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Steven Feldstein

Abstract

The temporal evolution of a regional-scale persistent low-frequency anomaly is examined with data from a 2100-day perpetual January general circulation model. The persistent episodes are determined with an objective analysis of the low-pass (>10 day) 350-mb streamfunction field that uses both pattern correlations and empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis.

The composite evolution of each term in the streamfunction tendency equation is calculated relative to the onset day (the first day of the persistent episode). By projecting each term in the streamfunction tendency equation onto an EOF (the EOF is associated with a particular low-frequency anomaly), the contribution of these terms toward the tendency of the corresponding principal component can be obtained. It is found that the sum of the linear terms dominates during most of the growth and the decay of the low-frequency anomaly. The linear term that accounts for the growth and maintenance of the low-frequency anomaly is the interaction between the anomaly and the time-mean zonally asymmetric flow. After the anomaly attains sufficient amplitude, its decay is accomplished through the divergence term. For one phase of the EOF, it is found that the high-frequency transients prolong the anomaly, whereas in the other phase they do not.

Implications of this study for examining monthly averaged anomalies are also discussed.

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Sukyoung Lee and Steven Feldstein

Abstract

The characteristics of two distinct types of wave breaking in an aquaplanet general circulation model (GCM) are described. A systematic analysis of wave breaking is possible because when a baroclinic wave packet is present, the wave breaking tends to occur in the vicinity of the packet crew.

Although the refractive index is strictly valid only for linear, quasigeostrophic flows, in this GCM the refractive index is shown to be useful for categorizing two types of wave breaking. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis is performed using the refractive index obtained (by averaging over one carrier wavelength) at the center of the wave packet. Composite Eliassen–Palm fluxes and upper-level potential vorticity, corresponding to either phase of the first EOF of the refractive index, are consistent with the two types of wave breaking.

It is found that the strength of the meridional shear in the upper troposphere is related to the type of wave breaking. Implications of these results for storm track variability in the atmosphere are also discussed.

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Steven B. Feldstein

Abstract

The dynamical processes that drive intraseasonal equatorial atmospheric angular momentum (EAAM) fluctuations in a 4000-day aquaplanet GCM run are examined. The all-ocean lower boundary has a sea surface temperature field that is both independent of longitude and symmetric across the equator. Because of the absence of topography, the model includes an equatorial bulge and friction torque, but not a mountain torque. The methodology adopted is to regress variables such as surface pressure, streamfunction, precipitation, and the two torques against individual components and the amplitude of the EAAM vector.

The results indicate that the phase of the EAAM vector is associated with the westward propagation of a zonal wavenumber-1 midlatitude Rossby wave. This wave has characteristics that closely match those of a normal mode of the GCM and also those of the first antisymmetric rotational mode of the shallow water model on the sphere. Fluctuations in the amplitude of the EAAM vector are found to be related to the presence of a zonal wavenumber-1 mixed Rossby–gravity wave in the Tropics. The structure of the precipitation anomalies suggests that the latent heat release associated with the mixed Rossby–gravity wave excites poleward Rossby wave propagation, which alters the EAAM amplitude. The above dynamical processes are also found to determine the phase and amplitude of the equatorial bulge torque. It is this torque that dominates the driving of the EAAM. Lastly, the properties of the friction torque are discussed.

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Steven B. Feldstein

Abstract

This study examines whether both the trend and the increase in variance of the Northern Hemisphere winter annular mode during the past 30 years arise from atmospheric internal variability. To address this question, a synthetic time series is generated that has the same intraseasonal stochastic properties as the annular mode. By generating a distribution of linear trend values for the synthetic time series, and through a chi-square statistical analysis, it is shown that this trend and variance increase are well in excess of the level expected from internal variability of the atmosphere. This implies that both the trend and the variance increase of the annular mode are due either to coupling with the hydrosphere and/or cryosphere or to driving external to the climate system. This behavior contrasts that of the first 60 years of the twentieth century, for which it is shown that all of the interannual variability of the annular mode can be explained by atmospheric internal variability.

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Steven B. Feldstein

Abstract

This investigation examines the dynamical processes that drive the anomalous friction torque associated with intraseasonal length-of-day fluctuations. Diagnostic analyses with National Centers for Environmental Protection–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outgoing longwave radiation data are performed. The approach adopted is to use the mean meridional circulation (MMC) as a proxy for the friction torque, and then to examine the MMC that is driven both by eddy fluxes and zonal mean diabatic heating.

The following simple picture emerges from this analyses. For the austral winter (May through September), the anomalous friction torque in both hemispheres is driven by anomalous zonal mean convection. For the boreal winter (November through March), the anomalous friction torque in the Northern Hemisphere is driven primarily by eddy fluxes, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere the anomalous friction torque is also driven by anomalous zonal mean convection. However, the dynamics associated with this convection for the Southern Hemisphere boreal winter may be rather subtle, as the results suggest that this convection may in turn be driven by eddies within the Northern Hemisphere.

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Steven B. Feldstein

Abstract

The atmospheric dynamical processes that drive intraseasonal polar motion are examined with National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis data and with pole position data from the International Earth Rotation Service. The primary methodology involves the regression of different atmospheric variables against the polar motion excitation function.

A power spectral analysis of the polar motion excitation function finds a statistically significant peak at 10 days. Correlation calculations show that this peak is associated with the 10-day, first antisymmetric, zonal wavenumber 1, normal mode of the atmosphere. A coherency calculation indicates that the atmospheric driving of polar motion is mostly confined to two frequency bands, with periods of 7.5–13 and 13–90 days. Regressions of surface pressure reveal that the 7.5–13-day band corresponds to the 10-day atmospheric normal mode and the 13–90-day band to a quasi-stationary wave.

The regressions of pole position and the various torques indicate not only that the equatorial bulge torque dominates the mountain and friction torques but also that the driving by the equatorial bulge torque accounts for a substantial fraction of the intraseasonal polar motion. Furthermore, although the 10-day and quasi-stationary wave contributions to the equatorial bulge torque are similar, the response in the pole position is primarily due to the quasi-stationary wave.

Additional calculations of regressed power spectra and meridional heat fluxes indicate that the atmospheric wave pattern that drives polar motion is itself excited by synoptic-scale eddies. Regressions of pole position with separate torques from either hemisphere show that most of the pole displacement arises from the equatorial bulge torque from the winter hemisphere. Together with the above findings on wave–wave interactions, these results suggest that synoptic-scale eddies in the winter hemisphere excite the quasi-stationary wave, which in turn drives the polar motion through the equatorial bulge torque.

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Steven Feldstein and Sukyoung Lee

Abstract

The authors address the question of whether or not eddy feedback plays an important role in driving the anomalous relative angular momentum associated with the zonal index (ZI) in the atmosphere. For this purpose, composites of anomalous relative angular momentum and anomalous eddy angular momentum flux convergence (eddy forcing) are examined with National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research Reanalysis data.

By using an empirical orthogonal function analysis, it is found that ZI behavior dominates the summer season of both hemispheres and also the winter season of the Southern Hemisphere. For the summer season, the ZI is characterized by meridional displacements of the midlatitude eddy-driven jet, and for the Southern Hemisphere winter it is characterized by a simultaneous movement of the subtropical and eddy-driven jets in the opposite direction.

For the ZI of each of the above seasons, unfiltered eddy forcing did not exhibit a prominent eddy feedback. However, suggestive evidence for a feedback by high-frequency eddies (period less than 10 days) was found. These eddies act to prolong the lifetime of the ZI anomalies against the dissipative influences of both low-frequency (period greater than 10 days) and cross-frequency (eddy fluxes that involves the product of high- and low-frequency disturbances) eddy forcing and the friction torque.

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Steven B. Feldstein

Abstract

The poleward propagation of zonal-mean relative angular momentum (M R) anomalies is examined using NCEP–NCAR Reanalysis data for both the winter and summer seasons of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. This analysis is performed with a regression analysis using base latitudes in the subtropics, midlatitudes, and high latitudes. It is found that the poleward M R anomaly propagation occurs at all latitudes, with the propagation speed being greater in the subtropics and high latitudes, compared to midlatitudes.

Other fields, such as eddy angular momentum flux convergence, eddy heat flux, friction torque, and 300-mb streamfunction, are regressed for the Northern Hemisphere winter and the Southern Hemisphere summer. The main finding is that in the subtropics and midlatitudes, the poleward M R anomaly propagation is primarily due to high-frequency (<10 day) transient eddy angular momentum flux convergence and in high latitudes the propagation is mostly due to the summation of cross-frequency and low-frequency (>10 day) eddy angular momentum flux convergence. For the Northern Hemisphere winter, the anomalous eddy angular momentum flux convergence due to the interaction between stationary and transient eddies also contributes to the poleward M R anomaly propagation.

The regression analysis suggests that a high-frequency transient eddy feedback is taking place that influences the poleward propagation of the M R anomalies. However, the effectiveness of this feedback is limited by the summation of the cross-frequency and low-frequency eddy angular momentum flux convergence, as once the M R anomaly reaches its largest amplitude, this summation of terms dominates the eddy angular momentum flux convergence and, together with the friction torque, contributes to the decay of the M R anomaly.

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Steven B. Feldstein

Abstract

A weakly nonlinear baroclinic life cycle is examined with a spherical, multilevel, primitive equation model. The structure of the initial zonal jet is chosen so that the disturbance grows very slowly, that is, linear growth rate less than 0.1 day−1, and the life cycles of the disturbance are characterized by baroclinic growth and followed by barotropic decay. It is found that if the disturbance grows sufficiently slowly, the decay is baroclinic. As a result, the procedure for determining this weakly nonlinear jet is rather delicate.

The evolution of the disturbance is examined with Eliassen-Palm flux diagrams, which illustrate that the disturbance is bounded at all times by its critical surface in the model's middle and upper troposphere. The disturbance undergoes two large baroclinic gtowth/barotropic decay life cycles, after which it decays by horizontal diffusion. At the end of the first cycle, the zonally averaged zonal flow is linearly stable, suggesting that the disturbance growth during the second cycle may have arisen through nonmodal instability. This stabilization of the disturbance is due to an increase in the horizontal shear of the zonal wind, that is, the barotropic governor mechanism. It is argued that this stabilization is due to the large number of model levels.

A quasigeostrophic refractive index is used to interpret the result that as the linear growth rate of the disturbance is lowered, the ratio of equatorward to poleward wave activity propagation decreases. A parameter is defined as the ratio of the horizontal zonal wind shear to the Eady growth rate. It is found that the growing disturbance tends to be confined to regions of local minima of this parameter.

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Steven B. Feldstein

Abstract

This study uses National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis data to investigate the extent to which interannual zonal index (ZI) fluctuations occur in the atmosphere and whether interannual ZI fluctuations can be accounted for by climate noise associated with the intraseasonal ZI. By using an empirical orthogonal function analysis, it is shown that the ZI is indeed a prominent form of interannual variability, because the interannual ZI corresponds to EOF1 (EOF2) for the winter (summer) seasons of both hemispheres. Also, by application of spectral, correlation, and χ 2 analyses, it is shown that interannual ZI variability can be interpreted as arising from climate noise.

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