Spectral Energetics of the Observed and Simulated Northern Hemisphere General Circulation during Blocking Episodes

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  • 1 Department of Atmosphere Science. University of Missouri, Colmbia, MO 65211
  • | 2 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771
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Abstract

The spectral energetics of the Northern Hemisphere circulation during blocking episodes of the FGGE year is investigated with gridded analyses of observational data and Parallel simulation experiments. The purpose of this study is to describe the energetics distinctions of the observed and simulated blockings in the context of the general circulation and to assess the capability of the model to simulate blockings.

In the observed circulation a pronounced winter blocking is developed and maintained by the nonlinear wave-wave interaction L(1) from the kinetic energy source for n = 3–10, where L(n) is the transfer of eddy kinetic energy from all other wavenumbers to wavenumber n. In the case of the. double blocking in the winter, both L(1) and L(2) support the blocking. The kinetic energy source of n=3–10 for upscale input at n = 1 and 2 is supported by the baroclinic conversion at n3–10. The simulated winter circulation shows strong baroclinic conversion at all wavenumbers, including ultralong waves. However, the simulation fails to produce pronounced blocking for the absence of L(1), and the converted energy cascades down to shorter waves. The wave-mean transfer of kinetic energy from the large-scale disturbances to the zonal mean component further prevents the accumulation of the kinetic energy at the ultralong waves.

In contrast to the winter situation, the summer blocking seems to be directly supported by both L(4) and baroclinic conversion at other planetary-scale waves. Consequently, the summer circulation is better simulated than the winter circulation.

Abstract

The spectral energetics of the Northern Hemisphere circulation during blocking episodes of the FGGE year is investigated with gridded analyses of observational data and Parallel simulation experiments. The purpose of this study is to describe the energetics distinctions of the observed and simulated blockings in the context of the general circulation and to assess the capability of the model to simulate blockings.

In the observed circulation a pronounced winter blocking is developed and maintained by the nonlinear wave-wave interaction L(1) from the kinetic energy source for n = 3–10, where L(n) is the transfer of eddy kinetic energy from all other wavenumbers to wavenumber n. In the case of the. double blocking in the winter, both L(1) and L(2) support the blocking. The kinetic energy source of n=3–10 for upscale input at n = 1 and 2 is supported by the baroclinic conversion at n3–10. The simulated winter circulation shows strong baroclinic conversion at all wavenumbers, including ultralong waves. However, the simulation fails to produce pronounced blocking for the absence of L(1), and the converted energy cascades down to shorter waves. The wave-mean transfer of kinetic energy from the large-scale disturbances to the zonal mean component further prevents the accumulation of the kinetic energy at the ultralong waves.

In contrast to the winter situation, the summer blocking seems to be directly supported by both L(4) and baroclinic conversion at other planetary-scale waves. Consequently, the summer circulation is better simulated than the winter circulation.

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