Spatial Variations in Atmospheric Predictability

David D. Houghton Dept. of Meteorology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706

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Abstract

Calculations are made with the NCAR six-layer general circulation model to determine the time evolution of errors initially confined to a region 4000 km in diameter superimposed upon real global data. Three experiments are made to distinguish between the effects of an error located initially on the northern or southern sides of the jet stream or in the tropical area. Results show that the largest error centers generally evolve in the jet stream; however, the propagation rate is much less than advection effects would suggest. Coverage of the Northern Hemisphere is accomplished as much by propagation across the north pole and via the tropical belt as it is via the jet stream. It is not complete even after seven days. As a whole the tropics are more sensitive than the middle latitudes to initial errors. Cross-equatorial effects are most pronounced at and just east of the initial longitude of the error.

Abstract

Calculations are made with the NCAR six-layer general circulation model to determine the time evolution of errors initially confined to a region 4000 km in diameter superimposed upon real global data. Three experiments are made to distinguish between the effects of an error located initially on the northern or southern sides of the jet stream or in the tropical area. Results show that the largest error centers generally evolve in the jet stream; however, the propagation rate is much less than advection effects would suggest. Coverage of the Northern Hemisphere is accomplished as much by propagation across the north pole and via the tropical belt as it is via the jet stream. It is not complete even after seven days. As a whole the tropics are more sensitive than the middle latitudes to initial errors. Cross-equatorial effects are most pronounced at and just east of the initial longitude of the error.

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