Numerical Modeling of the Stratospheric Sudden Warming: Some Sensitivity Studies

Alison F. C. Bridger National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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Duane E. Stevens Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523

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Abstract

A version of Holton's numerical model of the stratospheric sudden warming is found to be very sensitive to the assumed initial mean zonal wind distribution. In tests with three initial wind profiles, in only one case can we simulate a wavenumber 1 warming involving flow reversal over a deep layer of the polar atmosphere and substantial warming (i.e., a major warming). In the other two cases, flow reversal is noted in restricted areas and warming is less intense. Examination of Eliassen-Palm cross sections and of Matsuno's refractive index squared throughout each integration reveals how the different warnings develop, and why they differ. Examination of refractive index squared in the atmosphere at the time of enhanced wave propagation out of the troposphere may be valuable aid in predicting the likelihood of a warming. Some characteristics of an “ideal” mean zonal wind profile (with which a major warming can develop) are discussed.

Abstract

A version of Holton's numerical model of the stratospheric sudden warming is found to be very sensitive to the assumed initial mean zonal wind distribution. In tests with three initial wind profiles, in only one case can we simulate a wavenumber 1 warming involving flow reversal over a deep layer of the polar atmosphere and substantial warming (i.e., a major warming). In the other two cases, flow reversal is noted in restricted areas and warming is less intense. Examination of Eliassen-Palm cross sections and of Matsuno's refractive index squared throughout each integration reveals how the different warnings develop, and why they differ. Examination of refractive index squared in the atmosphere at the time of enhanced wave propagation out of the troposphere may be valuable aid in predicting the likelihood of a warming. Some characteristics of an “ideal” mean zonal wind profile (with which a major warming can develop) are discussed.

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