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Tingting Gong and Dehai Luo

Abstract

In this paper, the lead–lag relationship between the Arctic sea ice variability over the Barents–Kara Sea (BKS) and Ural blocking (UB) in winter (DJF) ranging from 1979/80 to 2011/12 is examined. It is found that in a regressed DJF-mean field an increased UB frequency (days) corresponds to an enhanced sea ice decline over the BKS, while the high sea surface temperature over the BKS is accompanied by a significant Arctic sea ice reduction. Lagged daily regression and correlation reveal that the growth and maintenance of the UB that is related to the positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO+) through the negative east Atlantic/west Russia (EA/WR) wave train is accompanied by an intensified negative BKS sea ice anomaly, and the BKS sea ice reduction lags the UB pattern by about four days. Because the intensified UB pattern occurs together with enhanced downward infrared radiation (IR) associated with the intensified moisture flux convergence and total column water over the BKS, the UB pattern contributes significantly to the BKS sea ice decrease on a time scale of weeks through intensified positive surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies resulting from enhanced downward IR. It is also found that the BKS sea ice decline can persistently maintain even when the UB has disappeared, thus indicating that the UB pattern is an important amplifier of the BKS sea ice reduction. Moreover, it is demonstrated that the EA/WR wave train formed by the combined NAO+ and UB patterns is closely related to the amplified warming over the BKS through the strengthening (weakening) of mid-to-high-latitude westerly wind in the North Atlantic (Eurasia).

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Dehai Luo, Tingting Gong, and Linhao Zhong

Abstract

In this paper, it is shown from an analytical solution that in the presence of a preexisting jet the interaction between the zonal jet and the topography of the land–sea contrast (LSC) in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) tends to induce a dipole component that depends crucially upon whether this zonal jet exhibits a north–south excursion. This phenomenon cannot be observed if the zonal jet has no north–south shift. When the preexisting jet is located more northward (southward), the induced dipole can have a low-over-high (high-over-low) structure and thus can make the center of the stationary wave anomaly shift southward (northward), which can be regarded as an initial state or embryo of a positive (negative) phase North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). This dipole component can be amplified into a typical NAO event under the forcing of synoptic-scale eddies. To some extent, this result provides an explanation for why the positive (negative) phase of the NAO can be controlled by the northward (southward) shift of the zonal jet prior to the NAO.

In addition, the impact of the jet shift on the occurrence of NAO is examined in a weakly nonlinear NAO model if the initial state of an NAO is prespecified. It is found that the northward (southward) shift of a zonal jet favors the occurrence of the subsequent positive (negative) phase NAO event and then results in a northward (southward)-intensified jet relative to the preexisting jet. In addition, during the decaying of the positive phase NAO, a strong blocking activity is easily observed over Europe as the jet is moved to the north.

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Dehai Luo, Tingting Gong, and Yina Diao

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In this paper, the north–south variability of westerly jet anomalies during the two phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is examined in a theoretical model. It is found that the north–south variability of the zonal mean westerly anomaly results from the interaction between the eddy-driven anomalous stationary waves with a dipole meridional structure (NAO anomalies) and topographically induced climatological stationary waves with a monopole structure, which is dependent upon the phase of the NAO. The westerly jet anomaly tends to shift northward during the positive NAO phase but southward during the negative phase. Synoptic-scale eddies tend to maintain westerly jet anomalies through the excitation of NAO anomalies, but the climatological stationary wave and its position relative to the eddy-driven anomalous stationary wave appear to dominate the north–south shift of westerly jet anomalies.

On the other hand, it is shown that when the climatological stationary wave ridge is located downstream of the eddy-driven anomalous stationary wave, the storm track modulated by the NAO pattern splits into two branches for the negative phase, in which the northern branch is generally stronger than the southern one. However, the southern one can be dominant as the relative position between anomalous and climatological stationary waves is within a moderate range. The storm track for the positive phase tends to drift northeastward when there is a phase difference between the NAO anomaly and climatological stationary wave ridge downstream. Thus, it appears that the relationship between the NAO jets and storm tracks can be clearly seen from the present theoretical model.

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Tingting Gong, Steven B. Feldstein, and Sukyoung Lee

Abstract

The relationship between latent heating over the Greenland, Barents, and Kara Seas (GBKS hereafter) and Rossby wave propagation between the Arctic and midlatitudes is investigated using global reanalysis data. Latent heating is the focus because it is the most likely source of Rossby wave activity over the Arctic Ocean. Given that the Rossby wave time scale is on the order of several days, the analysis is carried out using a daily latent heating index that resembles the interdecadal latent heating trend during the winter season. The results from regression calculations find a trans-Arctic Rossby wave train that propagates from the subtropics, through the midlatitudes, into the Arctic, and then back into midlatitudes over a period of about 10 days. Upon entering the GBKS, this wave train transports moisture into the region, resulting in anomalous latent heat release. At high latitudes, the overlapping of a negative latent heating anomaly with an anomalous high is consistent with anomalous latent heat release fueling the Rossby wave train before it propagates back into the midlatitudes. This implies that the Rossby wave propagation from the Arctic into the midlatitudes arises from trans-Arctic wave propagation rather than from in situ generation. The method used indicates the variance of the trans-Arctic wave train, but not in situ generation, and implies that the variance of the former is greater than that of latter. Furthermore, GBKS sea ice concentration regression against the latent heating index shows the largest negative value six days afterward, indicating that sea ice loss contributes little to the latent heating.

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Tingting Gong, Steven B. Feldstein, and Dehai Luo

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and southern annular mode (SAM) events with an idealized general circulation model. A series of model calculations are performed to examine why positive (negative) intraseasonal SAM events are observed to occur much more frequently during La Niña (El Niño). Seven different model runs are performed: a control run, three El Niño runs (the first with a zonally symmetric heating field, the second with a zonally asymmetric heating/cooling field, and the third that combines both fields), and three La Niña runs (with heating fields of opposite sign).

The model runs with the zonally symmetric and combined heating fields are found to yield the same relationship between the phase of ENSO and the preferred phase for SAM events as is observed in the atmosphere. In contrast, the zonally asymmetric model runs are found to have the opposite SAM–ENSO phase preference characteristics. Since a reduced midlatitude meridional potential vorticity gradient has been linked to a greater frequency of positive-phase SAM events, and vice versa for negative SAM events, the meridional potential vorticity gradient in the various model runs was compared. The results suggest that the phase preference of SAM events during ENSO arises from the impact of the zonal-mean heating on the midlatitude meridional potential vorticity gradient.

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Dehai Luo, Tingting Gong, and Anthony R. Lupo

Abstract

Through calculating the scatter diagrams of the streamfunction (ψP or ψT) versus potential vorticity (PV) (qP or qT), where ψP and ψT are the planetary-scale streamfunction and total streamfunction, respectively, and using a weakly nonlinear NAO model proposed in Part I of this paper, it is suggested that negative- and positive-phase NAO events may approximately correspond to free modes even though driven by synoptic-scale eddies. In a planetary-scale field, the qP(ψP) scatter diagram of an NAO event exhibits a linear multivalued functional relationship in a narrow region for the negative phase, but exhibits a linear single-valued functional relationship during the positive phase. It was also found that there is no steepening of the slope of the main straight line in the qP(ψP) scatter diagrams for two phases of the NAO event. Instead, the slope of the straight line in the scatterplots is time independent throughout the life cycle of the NAO event.

However, when synoptic-scale eddies are included in the streamfunction field, the qT(ψT) scatter diagram of the negative-phase NAO event shows a trend toward steepening during the intensification phase, and this tendency reverses during the decay phase. During the positive NAO phase the slope of the qt(ψT) scatter diagram shoals during the intensification phase and then steepens during the decay phase. Thus, it appears that the steepening and shoaling of the scatter diagrams of the streamfunction versus PV for the negative- and positive-phase NAO events are attributed to the effect of synoptic-scale eddies that force NAO events to form. Diagnostic studies using both composite and unfiltered fields of observed NAO events are presented to confirm these conclusions.

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Dehai Luo, Tingting Gong, and Yina Diao

Abstract

Based on a highly idealized, analytical solution of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) derived in Part III of this series, it is shown that wave breaking is not a necessary condition for the occurrence of NAO events. The breaking of synoptic waves can arise from the interaction between planetary and synoptic waves that gives rise to NAO events, and the type of wave breaking is dominated by the initial conditions of the two waves that determine the phase of the NAO. The planetary wave breaking (PWB) seems to be attributed to an amplification of the NAO amplitude. It is further found that both the planetary wave breaking and the cyclonic (anticyclonic) breaking of synoptic waves undergo an in-phase (out phase) evolution during the life cycles of negative (positive) phase NAO, or NAO (NAO+), events. An interesting result found is that for NAO (NAO+) events the breaking of synoptic waves is enhanced (weakened) during the growing phase, but is weakened (enhanced) during the decaying phase.

In the absence of a topographic planetary wave (TPW), PWB occurs mainly in the midlatitude regions of the Atlantic basin for NAO events, but is concentrated in subtropical and subpolar regions for NAO+ events. However, once the TPW is involved, the reversed planetary-scale potential vorticity (PV) gradient that characterizes the PWB exhibits a southwest–northeast (southeast–northwest) tilted tripole for NAO (NAO+) events, in agreement with the diagnostic results presented herein. The PWB in the subtropical Atlantic is found to occur more frequently for NAO+ events than for NAO events because the weaker subtropical mean flow is more likely to emerge during the NAO+ life cycle. In conclusion, the results of the highly idealized model used here appear to show that the PWB, synoptic wave breaking, and meridional shift of the westerly jet may be different descriptions of the NAO phenomenon.

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Tingting Gong, Steven Feldstein, and Sukyoung Lee

Abstract

During the past three decades, the most rapid warming at the surface has occurred during the Arctic winter. By analyzing daily ERA-Interim data, it is found that the majority of the winter warming trend north of 70°N can be explained by the trend in the downward infrared radiation (IR). This downward IR trend can be attributed to an enhanced poleward flux of moisture and sensible heat into the Arctic by poleward-propagating Rossby waves, which increases the total column water and temperature within this region. This enhanced moisture flux is mostly due to changes in the planetary-scale atmospheric circulation rather than an increase in moisture in lower latitudes. The results of this study lead to the question of whether Arctic amplification has mostly arisen through changes in the Rossby wave response to greenhouse gas forcing and its impact on moisture transport into the Arctic.

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Tingting Gong, Steven B. Feldstein, and Dehai Luo

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between intraseasonal southern annular mode (SAM) events and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) using daily 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) data. The data coverage spans the years 1979–2002, for the austral spring and summer seasons. The focus of this study is on the question of why positive SAM events dominate during La Niña and negative SAM events during El Niño. A composite analysis is performed on the zonal-mean zonal wind, Eliassen–Palm fluxes, and two diagnostic variables: the meridional potential vorticity gradient, a zonal-mean quantity that is used to estimate the likelihood of wave breaking, and the wave breaking index (WBI), which is used to evaluate the strength of the wave breaking. The results of this investigation suggest that the background zonal-mean flow associated with La Niña (El Niño) is preconditioned for strong (weak) anticyclonic wave breaking on the equatorward side of the eddy-driven jet, the type of wave breaking that is found to drive positive (negative) SAM events. A probability density function analysis of the WBI, for both La Niña and El Niño, indicates that strong anticyclonic wave breaking takes place much more frequently during La Niña and weak anticyclonic wave breaking during El Niño. It is suggested that these wave breaking characteristics, and their dependency on the background flow, can explain the strong preference for SAM events of one phase during ENSO. The analysis also shows that austral spring SAM events that coincide with ENSO are preceded by strong stratospheric SAM anomalies and then are followed by a prolonged period of wave breaking that lasts for approximately 30 days. These findings suggest that the ENSO background flow also plays a role in the excitation of stratospheric SAM anomalies and that the presence of these stratospheric SAM anomalies in turn excites and then maintains the tropospheric SAM anomalies via a positive eddy feedback.

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Sukyoung Lee, Tingting Gong, Nathaniel Johnson, Steven B. Feldstein, and David Pollard

Abstract

This study presents mechanisms for the polar amplification of surface air temperature that occurred in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) between the periods of 1958–77 (P1) and 1982–2001 (P2). Using European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Re-Analysis (ERA-40) reanalysis data, it is found that over the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, the winter surface warming arises from dynamic warming (stationary eddy heat flux and adiabatic warming). Over the ice-free Arctic Ocean between the Greenland and the Barents Seas, downward infrared radiative (IR) flux is found to dominate the warming.

To investigate whether the difference in the flow between P1 and P2 is due to changes in the frequency of occurrence of a small number of teleconnection patterns, a coupled self-organizing map (SOM) analysis of the 250-hPa streamfunction and tropical convective precipitation is performed. The latter field was specified to lead the former by 5 days. The results of the analysis showed that the P2 − P1 trend arises from a decrease in the frequency of negative phase PNA-like and circumglobal streamfunction patterns and a corresponding increase in the frequency of positive PNA-like and circumglobal streamfunction patterns. The occurrence of the two strong 1982–83 and 1997–98 El Niño events also contributes toward this trend. The corresponding trend in the convective precipitation is from below average to above average values in the tropical Indo-western Pacific region. Each of the above patterns was found to have an e-folding time scale from 6 to 8 days, which implies that the P2 − P1 trend can be understood as arising from the change in the frequency of occurrence of teleconnection patterns that fluctuate on intraseasonal time scales.

The link between intraseasonal and interannual variability was further examined by linearly regressing various quantities against trend patterns with interannual variability subtracted. It was found that enhanced convective precipitation is followed 3–6 days later by the occurrence of the P2 − P1 circulation trend pattern, and then 1–2 days later by the corresponding trend pattern in the downward IR flux. This finding suggests that an increased frequency of the above sequence of events, which occurs on intraseasonal time scales, can account for the NH winter polar amplification of the surface air temperature via increased dynamic warming and downward IR flux.

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