• Agnew, T., 1993: Simultaneous winter sea ice and atmospheric circulation anomaly patterns. Atmos.–Ocean,31, 259–280.

  • Barnston, A., and R. E. Livezey, 1987: Classification, seasonality, and persistence of low-frequency circulation patterns. Mon. Wea. Rev.,115, 1083–1126.

  • Comiso, J. C., 1994: Surface temperatures in the polar regions from Nimbus 7 temperature humidity infrared radiometer. J. Geophys. Res.,99, 5181–5200.

  • DaSilva, A. M., and R. S. Lindzen, 1993: On the establishment of stationary waves in the Northern Hemisphere. J. Atmos. Sci.,50, 43–61.

  • Davis, R. E., and S. R. Benkovic, 1994: Spatial and temporal variations of the January circumpolar vortex over the Northern Hemisphere. Int. J. Climatol.,14, 415–428.

  • Grotjahn, R., 1993: Global Atmospheric Circulations. Oxford University Press, 430 pp.

  • Hartmann, D. L., 1994: Global Physical Climatology. Academic Press, 411 pp.

  • Kahl, J. D., M. C. Serreze, S. Shiotani, S. M. Skony, and R. C. Schnell, 1992: In situ meteorological sounding archives for Arctic studies. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,73, 1824–1830.

  • Kalnay, E., and Coauthors, 1996: The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,77, 437–471.

  • Martin, S., and E. A. Munoz, 1997: Properties of the Arctic 2-meter air temperature for 1979–present derived from a new gridded dataset. J. Climate, in press.

  • Maykut, G., 1986: The surface heat and mass balance. The Geophysics of Sea Ice, N. Untersteiner, Ed., NATO ASI Series B, Vol. 146, Plenum Press, 395–464.

  • Molod, A., H. M. Helfand, and L. L. Takacs, 1996: The climatology of parameterized physical processes in the GEOS-1 GCM and their impact on the GEOS-1 data assimilation system. J. Climate,9, 764–785.

  • Nigam, S., I. M. Held, and S. W. Lyons, 1988: Linear simulation of the stationary eddies in a GCM. Part II: The “mountain” model. J. Atmos. Sci.,45, 1433–1452.

  • Overland, J. E., and P. S. Guest, 1991: The Arctic snow and air temperature budget over sea ice during winter. J. Geophys. Res.,96, 4652–4662.

  • ——, and K. L. Davidson, 1992: Geostrophic drag coefficients over sea ice. Tellus,44, 54–66.

  • ——, and P. Turet, 1994: Variability of the atmospheric energy flux across 70°N computed from the GFDL data set. Nansen Centennial Volume, Geophys. Monogr., No. 84, Amer. Geophys. Union, 313–325.

  • ——, ——, and A. H. Oort, 1996: Regional variations of moist static energy flux into the Arctic. J. Climate,9, 54–65.

  • Peixoto, J. P., and A. H. Oort, 1992: The Physics of Climate. American Institute of Physics, 520 pp.

  • Reed, R. J., 1962: Arctic forecast guide. U.S. Navy Weather Research Facility Tech. Rep. NWRF 16-0462-058, 107 pp. [Available from NOAA Library Seattle, NOAA/PMEL, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.].

  • Rodgers, C. D., and C. D. Walshaw, 1966: The computation of infra-red cooling rate in planetary atmospheres. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc.,92, 67–92.

  • Rossow, W. B., and R. A. Schiffer, 1991: ISCCP cloud data products. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,72, 2–20.

  • Schoeberl, M. R., and D. L. Hartmann, 1991: The dynamics of the stratospheric polar vortex and its relation to springtime ozone depletions. Science,251, 46–52.

  • Schubert, S., R. B. Rood, and J. Pfaendtner, 1993: An assimilated dataset for earth science applications. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,74, 2331–2342.

  • ——, C.-K. Park, C.-Y. Wu, W. Higgins, Y. Kondratyeva, A. Molod, L. Takacs, M. Seablom, and R. Rood, 1995: A multiyear assimilation with the GEOS-1 system: Overview and results. NASA Tech. Memo. 104606, Vol. 6, 182 pp. [Available from NASA Center for Aerospace Information, 800 Elkridge Landing Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.].

  • Schweiger, A. J., 1992: Arctic radiative fluxes modeled from the ISCCP-C2 data set, 1983–1986. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Colorado, 218 pp.

  • ——, and J. R. Key, 1994: Arctic Ocean radiative fluxes and cloud forcing estimated from the ISCCP C2 cloud dataset, 1983–1990. J. Appl. Meteor.,33, 948–963.

  • Serreze, M. C., and R. G. Barry, 1988: Synoptic activity in the Arctic basin, 1979–85. J. Climate,1, 1276–1295.

  • ——, J. D. Kahl, and R. C. Schnell, 1992: Low-level temperature inversions of the Eurasian Arctic and comparisons with Soviet drifting station data. J. Climate,5, 615–629.

  • ——, J. E. Box, R. G. Barry, and J. E. Walsh, 1993: Characteristics of Arctic synoptic activity, 1952–1989. Meteor. Atmos. Phys.,51, 147–164.

  • Takacs, L. L., A. Molod, and T. Wang, 1994: Documentation of the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) general circulation model—Version 1. NASA Tech. Memo. 104606, Vol. 1, 100 pp. [Available from NASA Center for Aerospace Information, 800 Elkridge Landing Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.].

  • Treshnikov, A. F., 1985: Atlas of the Arctic. Arctic and Antarctic Institute, 204 pp.

  • Valdes, P. J., and B. J. Hoskins, 1989: Linear stationary wave simulations of the time-mean climatological flow. J. Atmos. Sci.,46, 2509–2527.

  • ——, and ——, 1991: Nonlinear orographically forced planetary waves. J. Atmos. Sci.,48, 2089–2106.

  • Walsh, J. E., and W. L. Chapman, 1990: Short-term climatic variability of the Arctic. J. Climate,3, 237–250.

  • Yu, Y., 1996: Regional Arctic ice thickness and brine flux from AVHRR. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington, 143 pp.

  • View in gallery

    Monthly mean temperature soundings for February 1987 from 6 land stations around the perimeter of the Arctic ocean: 1) Krenkel (81°N, 58°E), 2) Chelyuskin (78°N, 104°E), 3) Kotelny (76°N, 138°E), 4) Barrow (71°N, 158°W), 5) Mould Bay (76°N, 119°W), and 6) Eureka (80°N, 86°W). Data are from the Historical Arctic Rawinsonde Archive (Kahl et al. 1992). All stations show similar profiles but vary in the details.

  • View in gallery

    Six-year time series of surface air temperature in °C at two land stations on opposite sides of the Arctic. The eastern station (Chelyuskin) is at 78°N, 104°E; the western station (Eureka) is at 80°N, 86°W. The time series is smoothed with a 30-day running mean. Eureka is consistently colder throughout the cold season.

  • View in gallery

    January climatologies of surface temperature from four independent sources: (a) AORF dataset, 1983–90; (b) °C poles 2-m air temperature observations interpolated to a 200-km grid, 1979–93; (c) Nimbus-7 infrared radiometer, 1979–85; and (d) the Russian atlas. The data are plotted on an equal-area azimuthal projection centered on the North Pole, with western longitudes on the left side and eastern longitudes on the right side. The 70° and 80° latitude circles and the 0°, 180°, 90°E, and 90°W longitude lines are drawn with dashed contours. See text for references.

  • View in gallery

    Primary components of the wintertime surface energy budget. (a) Downward longwave flux and (b) upward longwave flux at the surface for January 1987 from the AORF dataset; (c) 5-yr January climatology of sensible heat flux from the GEOS-1 reanalysis; (d) AORF outgoing longwave radiation for January 1987. All parameters are in W m−2.

  • View in gallery

    Total surface flux (Qnet) and residual flux (OLR minus Qnet) in W m−2 for January 1987. Top panels are from the AORF dataset; bottom panels are from the GEOS-1 reanalysis.

  • View in gallery

    Monthly means for January 1987 of (a) 500-mb temperature in °C, (b) 700-mb specific humidity in g kg−1, (c) 500-mb height in dam, and (d) isentropic potential vorticity on the θ = 285-K surface, which is roughly located at the 500-mb level. All data are from the GEOS-1 reanalysis.

  • View in gallery

    Same as Fig. 6 but all plots are monthly means for February 1987.

  • View in gallery

    Same as Fig. 6 but all plots are January–February 5-yr means.

  • View in gallery

    Gray-shaded contours of surface orography for elevations between 0.5 and 1 km, 1 and 2 km, 2 and 3 km, and 3 km and above. Overlain line contours are for the upper-level (σ = 0.2) perturbation streamfunction response to forcing by the Rocky Mountains. Contour interval is approximately 2.2 × 106 m2 s−1. The zero contour is the thick solid line. Latitude circles are drawn at 40°, 60°, and 80°N. (Taken from Valdes and Hoskins 1989.) This figure shows the tie between the location and orientation of the Rocky Mountains and their influence on the location of the upper-level atmospheric circulation anomalies.

  • View in gallery

    Standard deviation of the 5-yr-mean 700-mb height for January, calculated from the GEOS-1 reanalysis dataset and contoured in dam. High values are associated with the height anomalies caused by transient cyclones and are an indicator of increased synoptic activity.

  • View in gallery

    (a), (b), and (c) Air temperatures at 2-m in °C from the POLES air temperature dataset and (d), (e) and (f) 500-mb height in dam from the GEOS-1 reanalysis. Monthly means for January 1988, 1989, and 1990 are shown, respectively, in the top, center, and bottom panels.

  • View in gallery

    Fig. A1. January climatologies of surface temperature in °C. (a) NASA GEOS-1 reanalysis, 1985–90 and (b) NCEP/NCAR reanalysis, 1982–94.

  • View in gallery

    Fig. A2. Comparisons of daily surface observations (solid lines) with the GEOS-1 reanalysis (dotted lines) for the 6-month winter season October 1987 through March 1988. The GEOS-1 data are compared to (a) sea level pressure (in mb) and (b) surface air temperature (in °C) at the Russian drifting ice station NP28, which was initially located at 84°N, 155°E and ended up near the pole at the date line, traveling a great circle distance of 517 km. Surface air temperatures were also compared at (c) Eureka (80°N, 86°W) and (d) Chelyuskin (78°N, 104°E). See text for comparison statistics.

  • View in gallery

    Fig. A3. Observations of (a) surface air temperature and (b) cloud fraction from the Russian drifting ice station NP27 (solid lines) compared to the GEOS-1 reanalysis (dotted lines). Plots show daily averages from 25 January to 28 February 1986. All observations are within the grid box centered at 84°N, 147.5°E. GEOS-1 and NP27 have similar temperatures for clear-sky conditions but diverge under cloudy conditions.

  • View in gallery

    Fig. A4. Comparison of January 1987 mean temperature soundings from Russian drifting ice station NP28 (solid line) and GEOS-1 reanalysis (dashed line). The ice station was located within the grid cell centered at 80°N, 167.5°E. Profiles match above 900 mb but diverge near the surface, with the GEOS-1 reanalysis being too cold. Results are similar for other months and locations (not shown).

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 125 125 6
PDF Downloads 20 20 2

Regional Variation of Winter Temperatures in the Arctic

View More View Less
  • 1 NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, Washington
  • | 2 Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
© Get Permissions
Full access

Abstract

The surface temperature field in the Arctic winter is primarily controlled by downward longwave radiation, which is determined by local atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles and the presence of clouds. The authors show that regional differences in the atmospheric thermal energy budget are related to the tropospheric circulation in the Arctic. Data sources include several gridded meteorological datasets and surface and rawinsonde observational data. Four independent climatologies of mean January surface temperature show consistent spatial patterns: coldest temperatures in the western Arctic north of Canada and warmer regions in the Chukchi, Greenland, and Barents Seas. Data from the five winters of 1986–90 illustrate the coupling between the surface temperature, the downward longwave radiative fields, and the tropospheric temperature and humidity fields, with monthly surface–upper-air correlations on the order of 0.6. Upper-level circulation patterns reveal features similar to the surface temperature fields, notably a persistent low center located over northern Canada; the cyclonic flow around the low is a tropospheric extension of the polar vortex. Colder and drier conditions are maintained within the vortex and communicated to the surface through radiative processes. The polar vortex also steers transient weather systems, the most important mechanism for horizontal heat transport, into the eastern Arctic, which results in as much as 25 W m−2 more heat flux into the eastern Arctic than the western Arctic. A reason for the colder temperatures in the western Arctic is that the polar vortex tends to be situated downstream of the northern Rocky Mountains; this preferred location is related to orographic forcing of planetary waves. Monthly and interannual variability of winter temperatures is conditioned by the interaction of the Arctic and midlatitude circulations through the strength and position of the polar vortex.

Corresponding author address: Dr. James E. Overland, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA, Building 3, 7600 Sand Point Way, N.E., Seattle, WA 98115.E-mail: overlandpmel.noaa.gov

Abstract

The surface temperature field in the Arctic winter is primarily controlled by downward longwave radiation, which is determined by local atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles and the presence of clouds. The authors show that regional differences in the atmospheric thermal energy budget are related to the tropospheric circulation in the Arctic. Data sources include several gridded meteorological datasets and surface and rawinsonde observational data. Four independent climatologies of mean January surface temperature show consistent spatial patterns: coldest temperatures in the western Arctic north of Canada and warmer regions in the Chukchi, Greenland, and Barents Seas. Data from the five winters of 1986–90 illustrate the coupling between the surface temperature, the downward longwave radiative fields, and the tropospheric temperature and humidity fields, with monthly surface–upper-air correlations on the order of 0.6. Upper-level circulation patterns reveal features similar to the surface temperature fields, notably a persistent low center located over northern Canada; the cyclonic flow around the low is a tropospheric extension of the polar vortex. Colder and drier conditions are maintained within the vortex and communicated to the surface through radiative processes. The polar vortex also steers transient weather systems, the most important mechanism for horizontal heat transport, into the eastern Arctic, which results in as much as 25 W m−2 more heat flux into the eastern Arctic than the western Arctic. A reason for the colder temperatures in the western Arctic is that the polar vortex tends to be situated downstream of the northern Rocky Mountains; this preferred location is related to orographic forcing of planetary waves. Monthly and interannual variability of winter temperatures is conditioned by the interaction of the Arctic and midlatitude circulations through the strength and position of the polar vortex.

Corresponding author address: Dr. James E. Overland, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA, Building 3, 7600 Sand Point Way, N.E., Seattle, WA 98115.E-mail: overlandpmel.noaa.gov

1. Introduction

The polar atmosphere in winter is a reservoir of cold air that establishes latitudinal pressure gradients, which force the general circulation (Peixoto and Oort 1992; Grotjahn 1993; Hartmann 1994). Sea ice insulates the polar atmosphere from the reservoir of heat stored in the ocean. In the summer ice surface temperatures are fixed at the melting point, and the influence of the ice surface on shortwave fluxes—that is, albedo—is the most important variable in the energy budget. In the winter longwave fluxes dominate, and ice surface temperatures vary in response to radiative forcing and cloud feedbacks. The regional variability of the winter energy budget is manifested in the time and space variability of the surface temperature field. Thus, surface temperature becomes an important proxy for the Arctic winter climate.

The February 1987 monthly mean temperature soundings, shown in Fig. 1, are from six coastal weather stations around the perimeter of the Arctic and illustrate typical wintertime conditions over sea ice: cold surface air temperatures, a steep surface-based temperature inversion capped by a relatively warm layer with a maximum temperature around the 900-mb level (∼1 km), and a negative lapse rate through the remainder of the troposphere (Reed 1962; Overland and Davidson 1992). The six soundings have the same general shape but exhibit regional differences. There is a large temperature gradient across the Arctic at the surface, with Eureka, Canada, in the west being 12° colder than Chelyuskin, Russia, and Kotelny, Russia, in the east. These gradients persist throughout the depth of the troposphere. Barrow shows evidence of warm air advection from the North Pacific. The strength of the surface-based inversion, the height of the maximum temperature in the lower troposphere, and the tropopause height also vary with region.

In the Arctic winter (November through March), the atmospheric thermal energy budget is a balance of outgoing radiation at the top of the atmosphere, radiative and sensible heat fluxes at the surface, and lateral advection of heat from lower latitudes. Surface temperature and ice thickness are coupled to the temperature and humidity structure in the lower troposphere, principally through radiative processes (Overland and Guest 1991). Overland et al. (1996) found that the convergence of moist static energy flux from the poleward advection of heat by transient eddies was at a minimum north of Canada in the western Arctic.

The intent of this paper is to show that spatial differences in the surface temperature field are related to horizontal gradients in temperature and humidity at midlevels in the atmosphere and are thus influenced by the dynamics of the polar atmosphere. A tropospheric extension of the polar vortex, a cyclonic circulation that develops in the stratosphere during winter, has a tendency to be located over the western Arctic. This vortex location has been attributed to the upstream location of the northern Rocky Mountains (Valdes and Hoskins 1989, 1991). The vortex contains relatively cold and dry air that is isolated from other regions of the Arctic; the cold temperatures are effectively communicated to the surface through radiative processes. In addition, the extension of the polar vortex acts as a barrier to transient eddies in the troposphere. These weather systems, the most important mechanism for horizontal heat transport (Overland and Turet 1994), are steered into the eastern Arctic, resulting in more heat flux into the eastern Arctic than the western Arctic.

We present an examination of the large-scale features of the radiative and dynamic state of the Arctic wintertime atmosphere, highlighting regional variability. The following section discusses data sources, section 3 contains a discussion of thermodynamic and radiative fields, section 4 covers the upper-level thermodynamic and dynamic fields, section 5 shows some examples of interannual differences in the radiative and dynamic fields, and a summary and conclusions are in section 6.

2. Data sources

We investigated five gridded meteorological datasets and surface and rawinsonde observational data. The primary data source used to describe the tropospheric structure is the 5-yr global dataset produced by the Data Assimilation Office at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center. Observational data from conventional sources plus aircraft, ship, rocketsonde, and rawinsonde reports, satellite retrievals of geopotential height, and cloud motion winds were reanalyzed using the Goddard general circulation model GEOS-1, which provides a dynamically and physically consistent global framework for interpreting the assimilated observations (Schubert et al. 1993). The data cover the time period from March 1985 to February 1990 and are presented on a 2° latitude by 2.5° longitude grid at 18 vertical levels. The output is grouped into two general categories: prognostic parameters, which are directly assimilated and are strongly constrained by the observations, and diagnostic parameters, which are derived from model parameterizations (Schubert et al. 1995). Sea ice is treated in the GEOS-1 model as a 3-m slab. We found that the model-derived surface temperatures in the Arctic were often 10° colder than the climatology. This may be attributed to reduced downward longwave radiation in the GEOS-1 model caused by inadequate cloud radiative forcing (Schubert et al. 1995; Molod et al. 1996). However, the upper-level prognostic fields are consistent with sounding data and other analyses. Our validation efforts are discussed in the appendix.

To supplement the GEOS-1 data, we use the longwave and shortwave radiant fluxes at the surface and the top of the atmosphere from the Arctic Ocean Radiative Fluxes (AORF) dataset produced by Schweiger and Key (1994). Monthly means of the radiant fluxes for the ocean areas of the Arctic were estimated using the cloud products of the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) and supplementary atmospheric vapor and temperature profiles compiled by Serreze et al. (1992). The AORF data span the time period from July 1983 to December 1990 and are presented on a 100-km grid.

We made use of two other Arctic surface temperature analyses: the Nimbus-7 Temperature Humidity Infrared Radiometer (THIR) temperatures (Comiso 1994) and the Polar Exchange at the Sea Surface (POLES) 2-m air temperatures (Martin and Munoz 1997), which are based on interpolations of coastal stations, Arctic buoys, and Soviet drifting stations. We also investigated the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Reanalysis Project data (Kalnay et al. 1996). Here, the Arctic surface temperatures appear to have some of the same diagnostic difficulties as the GEOS-1 data. In addition, the fields seem to be influenced by unreasonable extrapolations from station observations.

Additional observational data came from the Historical Arctic Rawinsonde Archive (Kahl et al. 1992) and the network of Russian drifting ice stations, provided by the International Arctic Buoy Program at the Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle, Washington.

3. Thermodynamic and radiative fields

a. Surface temperature fields

Illustration of the east–west differences in surface temperature appears in the 5-yr time series from two weather stations on opposite sides of the Arctic Ocean (Fig. 2). The eastern Arctic is represented by the Russian station in Chelyuskin at 78°N, 104°E; the western Arctic is represented by the Canadian station in Eureka at 80°N, 86°W. The time series shows differences between the east and west on seasonal and interannual timescales. Wintertime temperatures can differ by as much as 15°, with warmer temperatures in the east. During the autumn season, the west appears to cool faster than the east. Cooling rates, minimum temperatures, and temperature differences vary between winters.

Four climatologies of mean January surface temperature from independent sources are shown in Fig. 3; the temperature color scale is the same for all four analyses. All data are plotted on polar stereographic projections, with the North Pole in the center of the image, western longitudes on the left side, and eastern longitudes on the right side. The first climatology (Fig. 3a) is from the AORF ice surface temperatures, which are taken directly from the ISCCP C2 dataset (Rossow and Schiffer 1991). The data span the years from 1983 to 1990. Through comparison with buoy data, ISCCP surface temperatures during winter are estimated to be 4°–6°C too high; this is most likely due to the undetected radiative effects of ice crystal precipitation (Schweiger 1992). Schweiger points out that although the surface temperatures may be biased the spatial variability is captured quite well. The second climatology (Fig. 3b) is from all available 2-m air temperature observations from 1979 to 1993 interpolated to a 200-km grid (Martin and Munoz 1997). Through comparison with independent observations from drifting ice stations, the gridded temperatures show a positive bias of 0.3°–1.3°C. The 2-m air temperature is usually slightly warmer than the ice surface temperature in winter; Yu (1996) reports a mean difference of 1.4°C. The third climatology (Fig. 3c) is the surface skin temperature derived from the Nimbus-7 THIR for the years 1979 through 1985 (Comiso 1994). Comiso estimates the rms error to be 1°–2°C, depending on the surface type. The fourth climatology (Fig. 3d) is from the Russian atlas (Treshnikov 1985) and is based on observations from coastal and island stations and drifting ice camps. An estimate of the error in the surface temperatures from the Russian atlas is not available.

All four analyses show a similar spatial pattern, with the coldest temperatures in the western Arctic north of Canada and warmer regions in the Chukchi, Greenland, and Barents Seas. In the cold region in the western Arctic, the Russian data indicate temperatures as much as 5° colder than the THIR and POLES climatologies; these two are in general agreement, although there are some discrepancies as to how far east the coldest air extends. The AORF climatology is about 2° warmer than the THIR and POLES climatologies. In the warmer regions, the four climatologies are in better agreement. Overall, the differences between the four fields can be greater than the error estimates. These differences may be attributed to the biases inherent in the retrieval algorithms and analysis procedures, but the varying number of years included in each climatology may also be a factor. Although the four climatologies differ somewhat in absolute magnitude, each of them does capture the horizontal variability. Spatial gradients in the surface temperature field are important because the temperature at the surface, which is regulated by radiant and turbulent fluxes, is a wintertime thermodynamic link between atmospheric forcing and sea ice.

b. Surface energy budget

The components of the surface energy budget are the net longwave flux and the net shortwave flux, plus sensible and latent heat fluxes:
i1520-0442-10-5-821-e1

We define the total surface flux (Qnet) to be positive in the upward direction, representing heat lost from the surface to the atmosphere as the surface cools during the winter season. Figure 4 contains plots of estimates for the primary components of Qnet in January 1987. We chose 1987 because it was the coldest winter in the 5-yr time series, and the east–west temperature differences were also quite large. The dominant terms in (1) are the longwave fluxes; shortwave fluxes in January are zero. We assume that latent heat flux averaged over large areas of sea ice is small, and it is not included in our calculations. The downward longwave flux (Fig. 4a) shows a distinct minimum on the western side, with values generally 10–20 W m−2 less in the western Arctic than in the eastern Arctic. The upward longwave flux (Fig. 4b) has a similar pattern to the downward longwave flux, with a minimum on the western side collocated with the minimum in the downward longwave flux; the spatial gradient corresponds to a temperature difference of as much as 10° across the Arctic. The local minimum along the Siberian coastline is stronger in the downward flux; it is this minimum that is manifested as a maximum in the net longwave flux (not shown). The AORF dataset does not contain an estimate of the sensible heat flux, so we used the January climatology from the GEOS-1 reanalysis (Fig. 4c), which employs a bulk parameterization (Takacs et al. 1994). The sensible heat flux is negative everywhere over the sea ice, meaning that heat is transferred from the atmosphere to the surface; the absolute value of the flux is lowest in the eastern Arctic. The colder surface temperatures in the GEOS-1 data may influence the accuracy of sensible heat flux estimates, but regardless of the error estimate, the magnitude of the heat flux is still more than an order of magnitude smaller than the longwave fluxes (Maykut 1986; Overland and Guest 1991).

The total surface flux for January 1987, the sum of the net longwave flux (Fig. 4b minus Fig. 4a) and the sensible heat flux (Fig. 4c), is plotted in Fig. 5a. This somewhat noisy field varies by 30 W m−2 across the Arctic with a maximum in the eastern Arctic, implying that more heat is lost, which cools the surface. For comparison, we also show Qnet for January 1987 using the surface longwave fluxes from the GEOS-1 reanalysis (Fig. 5c). This smoothly varying field has a smaller variation (∼10 W m−2) across the Arctic with a maximum in the west, just north of the Canadian archipelago. The Qnet of both GEOS-1 and AORF are of the same order of magnitude; the discrepancies between these two estimates are due to their different calculations of the downward longwave flux. The ISCCP cloud information used in the AORF analysis gives us more confidence in that dataset. Because the downward longwave flux is strongly affected by both the vertical temperature profile and the presence of clouds, accurate cloud detection and representation is a crucial component of any surface energy budget calculation.

c. Residual flux calculations

The total heat budget for the Arctic atmosphere in winter is a balance of outgoing shortwave and longwave radiation at the top of the atmosphere (OSR and OLR), the total surface flux (Qnet), and the convergence in lateral advection of moist static energy from lower latitudes. This convergence is estimated as a residual:
net
Equation (2) is valid assuming steady-state conditions, which is reasonable for midwinter.

The outgoing longwave radiation at the top of the atmosphere for January 1987 (Fig. 4d) shows a strong east–west gradient with a broad minimum centered north of the Canadian archipelago. The residual flux calculation for the AORF data (OLR–Qnet; Fig. 5b) shows two minima in energy flux convergence, one on the western side north of the Canadian archipelago, and the other on the eastern side along the Siberian coast. Higher values are in the Barents Sea and along the north coast of Alaska. The residual flux calculation using the GEOS-1 data (Fig. 5d) has an offset of ∼15 W m−2 from that based on the AORF data but shows a similar spatial pattern. Both fields also show a relative maximum between the western Arctic and the Siberian coastal regions. Horizontal differences in the energy flux convergence over the whole Arctic Ocean are 25–30 W m−2 in both the AORF and GEOS-1 datasets. The fluxes in both estimates are relatively large O(130 W m−2), showing that the atmospheric energy budget in winter is mainly a balance between outgoing longwave radiation and horizontal temperature advection. These results are consistent with the direct calculation of the horizontal flux convergence by Overland et al. (1996).

4. Upper-level thermodynamic and dynamic fields

The patterns in the radiative fields described in the previous section are linked to the thermodynamic structure and circulation of the polar atmosphere. The 500-mb temperature field in Fig. 6a and the 700-mb specific humidity field in Fig. 6b for January 1987 show similar spatial patterns to the residual flux. The temperature patterns at levels between 850 and 300 mb are qualitatively similar to those at 500 mb, as implied by the soundings in Fig. 1. The low values of outgoing longwave radiation and the low surface temperatures in the western Arctic are related to the cold temperatures and low humidities in the troposphere and lower stratosphere. The lower specific humidity reduces the emissivity of the air, which reduces the radiative flux from that layer and increases the transmissivity between the surface and higher levels in the atmosphere. Because of the problems with the GEOS-1 cloud parameterizations, we use the specific humidity as a proxy for cloudiness. Monthly mean specific humidity values that are less than 0.3 are assumed to represent primarily clear conditions, while values greater than 0.3 are assumed to include clouds.

Although the two minima in 500-mb temperature are of equal magnitude, the 500-mb height field in Fig. 6c indicates a deeper trough on the western side. The westerly flow around the center of the low heights delimits a tropospheric extension of the polar vortex, which can be a quasi-stationary feature during the winter (Davis and Benkovic 1994). The polar vortex features high values of isentropic potential vorticity (IPV); Fig. 6d shows that the region encircled by the westerly jet has higher IPV values at 500 mb than the surrounding area. Because IPV is a quasi-conservative property and air parcels tend not to move across the IPV gradient, the relatively cold and dry air within the vortex is isolated from the more temperate air that surrounds it. Thus, this extension of the polar vortex acts as a barrier to transient eddies in the troposphere, which are the primary agents for poleward transport of heat and moisture. The transient eddies are embedded in the westerly jet, which is located south of the high IPV region.

Figure 7 shows the same upper-level fields (500 mb-temperature and height, 700-mb specific humidity, and isentropic potential vorticity) for the following month, February 1987. These fields illustrate how the tropospheric polar vortex persisted and intensified in the western Arctic and lost strength in the eastern Arctic.

The January–February 5-yr means of the upper-level parameters (Fig. 8) indicate that these spatial patterns are common features of the wintertime Arctic. The colder temperatures, lower specific humidities, lower 500-mb heights, and higher values of potential vorticity associated with the tropospheric extension of the polar vortex are all centered on the western side over northern Canada; the spatial patterns are similar to the surface temperature climatologies in Fig. 3.

Temperatures within the polar vortex in wintertime are primarily driven by radiative processes (Schoeberl and Hartmann 1991). A sensitivity test was performed to estimate the relative contributions of the colder temperatures versus the lower specific humidities on reducing the downward longwave radiation within the polar vortex and, hence, lowering surface temperature. A band model for longwave radiation (Rodgers and Walshaw 1966) was used to compute clear-sky downward flux at the surface. The model was driven with a representative winter sounding from the GEOS-1 dataset to which small tropospheric perturbations in temperature and humidity were applied. The fields shown in Figs. 6–8 indicate that a change of 2°C in 500-mb temperature is typically accompanied by a change of 0.1 g kg−1 in 700-mb specific humidity. Applying these magnitudes of changes in temperature and specific humidity separately over the lowest 500 mb in the model yielded respective changes of 4 W m−2 and 7 W m−2 in the downward longwave radiation at the surface. Therefore, the variations in temperature in the Arctic troposphere appear to be roughly one-half as important as the variations in humidity to the downward longwave flux and, hence, the surface energy budget. It should be noted that the horizontal distributions of tropospheric temperature and humidity are not the only determinants of variations in downward longwave radiation. In particular, these variations are often controlled by the gradients in cloud cover and ice crystal concentration, which are indirectly accounted for in the monthly humidity fields.

It has been hypothesized that the polar vortex is a forced planetary wave, influenced by the location and orientation of the northern Rocky Mountains (Nigam et al. 1988; Valdes and Hoskins 1989, 1991; DaSilva and Lindzen 1993). Figure 9 shows the gray shaded contours of surface orography overlain with contours of the upper-level streamfunction perturbation in response to forcing by the Rocky Mountains (adapted from Valdes and Hoskins 1989). The data show that a trough forms over western Canada, extending from the Great Lakes to the Arctic ice edge. The strength of the forced stationary wave is a function of the strength of the flow impinging on the orography. Although Greenland is a major orographic feature, the upstream flow impinging on its elevated plateau is weaker than that on the northern Rocky Mountains, and thus the downstream effect is smaller (Valdes and Hoskins 1989). These model results are consistent with the observational fields that we have presented.

Because the polar vortex is preferentially located on the western side, midlatitude weather systems are steered into the eastern Arctic. Climatological studies of synoptic activity in the Arctic have shown that there is a higher frequency of wintertime cyclones in the eastern Arctic, with the strongest storms in the marginal seas (Serreze and Barry 1988; Serreze et al. 1993). We use the standard deviation of the 700-mb height field as an indicator of synoptic activity; high standard deviations are associated with the large height anomalies caused by cyclones. Figure 10 shows the standard deviation of the 5-yr mean 700-mb height field for January, which suggests higher cyclone frequency in the eastern Arctic. The indication that there are more storms in the Barents and Kara Seas and the Chukchi Sea is consistent with the residual heat flux calculations in Fig. 5b. Based on our residual flux calculations, we conclude that the east receives about 25 W m−2 more heat flux by lateral advection than the western Arctic.

5. Interannual differences

A 5-yr time series is not long enough to draw definitive conclusions about the long-term variability of the climate processes in the Arctic, but it is enough to suggest the nature of the interannual differences in the horizontal inhomogeneity of the Arctic atmosphere. The temperature time series in Fig. 2 indicates that while the western Arctic is colder than the eastern Arctic in the mean, there is interannual variability in the surface temperature field on both sides of the Arctic. As discussed in the previous section, orographic effects are likely to be responsible for the polar vortex’s preferred location over the Canadian archipelago, but diabatic heating and thermal forcing by transient eddies along the periphery of the Arctic are also important factors governing the time-mean climatological flow. Variability in the strength of the upstream flow impinging on the orography is also a factor. The fluctuations in the Arctic atmosphere on monthly to interannual timescales are believed to be a result of the oscillations in the stronger midlatitude circulation (e.g., Barnston and Livezey 1987; Walsh and Chapman 1990; Agnew 1993). These effects are not geographically fixed and would be expected to cause variations in the flow impinging on the northern Rocky Mountains, and thus in the strength and position of the polar vortex.

It is instructive to compare the results shown previously for January 1987 with other years. Compare the surface temperature climatologies in Fig. 3 with the monthly means for January 1988, 1989, and 1990 from the POLES 2-m air temperature dataset in Fig. 11. All three years showed colder temperatures on the western side, yet the locations of the minima are different in each year. In 1988 there was a broad region of warm temperatures extending northward from Alaska, and in 1990 a warm tongue extended from the Barents Sea across the Arctic to the Bering Strait. In 1989 temperatures were colder than normal over most of the Arctic. The magnitudes of these interannual differences are quite large; for example, the North Pole was 8°C warmer in 1990 than it was in 1989. We have some confidence in these conclusions through comparison with the corresponding mean 500-mb height analyses for these three years, also shown in Fig. 10. The 500-mb height analyses indicate low heights over the Canadian archipelago, as in January 1987, as well as the large-scale features that are consistent with the surface temperature analyses. In 1988, a broad, high-amplitude ridge extended northward of Alaska, resulting in an elongated trough stretching across the Arctic. In 1989, the broad polar vortex was centered just off the pole, resulting in a more zonally symmetric circulation. In 1990, the 500-mb heights were higher than normal over much of the eastern Arctic. All three Januaries had low 500-mb heights in the western region downstream of the northern Rocky Mountains and the corresponding minimum in surface temperature, yet the differences in the circulation in other locations had profound effects on the overall distribution of surface air temperature.

To quantify the relationship between the surface air temperature and the upper-level thermodynamic and dynamic fields, we calculated the correlation between the 2-m air temperature, the 500-mb height and temperature, and the 700-mb specific humidity. The domain of the comparison is a rectangular area, (3000 km) × (2400 km), that covers most of the Arctic Ocean and the northern Canadian archipelago. The corners of the rectangular domain are in Baffin Bay (73°N, 68°W), at the mouth of the Mackenzie River (68°N, 135°W), in eastern Siberia (71°N, 143°E), and at the northern tip of Novaya Zemlya (77°N, 62°E). The correlation statistics for January and February are shown respectively in Tables 1 and 2. The results show considerable variability in the monthly correlation between surface temperatures and upper-level dynamic and thermodynamic parameters. Approximately half of the months examined showed strong correlations. In general, the correlations between surface temperature and 500-mb temperature are comparable to those with 700-mb specific humidity; correlations with 500-mb height were somewhat lower. On average, these parameters correlated better in February than in January.

6. Summary

Surface temperatures are persistently colder in the western Arctic than in the eastern Arctic in winter. This temperature pattern extends from the surface through the troposphere. Surface temperatures are coupled to conditions aloft through radiative processes; this coupling is particularly strong in regions of low humidity, such as within the polar vortex. The upper-level circulation in the Arctic winter tends to be zonally asymmetric, with the polar vortex located on the western side of the Arctic. Colder and drier conditions are maintained within the polar vortex, which also directs transient eddies into the eastern Arctic. Thus, the western Arctic becomes a region of minimum energy flux convergence. The results shown for January 1987 indicate that regional differences in downward longwave radiation and energy flux convergence make comparable contributions toward maintaining colder conditions in the western Arctic. Thus the strength, extent, and persistence of the polar vortex are major determinants of the Arctic climate.

A forced stationary wave pattern is responsible for the tendency of the polar vortex to be located downstream of the northern Rocky Mountains. Greenland has elevations comparable to the Rocky Mountains but has less influence on the Arctic general circulation because of weaker upstream flow. The variability of the Arctic atmosphere is influenced by the location and strength of the westerlies impinging on the northern Rocky Mountains. Thus, Arctic climate is tied to the variability in the midlatitude circulation. Arctic temperatures, in turn, establish latitudinal pressure gradients and influence the general circulation.

This paper has addressed the links between the tropospheric circulation and the surface temperature in the Arctic during winter, examining the processes that maintain colder conditions in the western Arctic. A related but separate subject involves the fall cooling cycle and the development of the surface temperature gradients in the Arctic. These topics will be the focus of a forthcoming paper.

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the NASA Polar Research Program and the Arctic Program of the Office of Naval Research. Data analysis and figure production were done using FERRET, an interactive data manipulation package developed by the Thermal Mapping and Analysis Project at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. The authors gratefully acknowledge Steve Hankin and Jerry Davison for their guidance in using FERRET, Esther Munoz and Seelye Martin for providing the POLES gridded 2-m air temperature data and the surface station observations, Joey Comiso for providing his surface temperature analyses, Axel Schweiger for his help in interpreting the AORF data, Mark Serreze and Claire Hanson for their help with the Historical Arctic Rawinsonde Archive, and Aries Galindo and Karen Birchfield for their assistance in the preparation of some of the figures. This is Contribution 1746 from the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Contribution 356 from the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean.

REFERENCES

  • Agnew, T., 1993: Simultaneous winter sea ice and atmospheric circulation anomaly patterns. Atmos.–Ocean,31, 259–280.

  • Barnston, A., and R. E. Livezey, 1987: Classification, seasonality, and persistence of low-frequency circulation patterns. Mon. Wea. Rev.,115, 1083–1126.

  • Comiso, J. C., 1994: Surface temperatures in the polar regions from Nimbus 7 temperature humidity infrared radiometer. J. Geophys. Res.,99, 5181–5200.

  • DaSilva, A. M., and R. S. Lindzen, 1993: On the establishment of stationary waves in the Northern Hemisphere. J. Atmos. Sci.,50, 43–61.

  • Davis, R. E., and S. R. Benkovic, 1994: Spatial and temporal variations of the January circumpolar vortex over the Northern Hemisphere. Int. J. Climatol.,14, 415–428.

  • Grotjahn, R., 1993: Global Atmospheric Circulations. Oxford University Press, 430 pp.

  • Hartmann, D. L., 1994: Global Physical Climatology. Academic Press, 411 pp.

  • Kahl, J. D., M. C. Serreze, S. Shiotani, S. M. Skony, and R. C. Schnell, 1992: In situ meteorological sounding archives for Arctic studies. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,73, 1824–1830.

  • Kalnay, E., and Coauthors, 1996: The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,77, 437–471.

  • Martin, S., and E. A. Munoz, 1997: Properties of the Arctic 2-meter air temperature for 1979–present derived from a new gridded dataset. J. Climate, in press.

  • Maykut, G., 1986: The surface heat and mass balance. The Geophysics of Sea Ice, N. Untersteiner, Ed., NATO ASI Series B, Vol. 146, Plenum Press, 395–464.

  • Molod, A., H. M. Helfand, and L. L. Takacs, 1996: The climatology of parameterized physical processes in the GEOS-1 GCM and their impact on the GEOS-1 data assimilation system. J. Climate,9, 764–785.

  • Nigam, S., I. M. Held, and S. W. Lyons, 1988: Linear simulation of the stationary eddies in a GCM. Part II: The “mountain” model. J. Atmos. Sci.,45, 1433–1452.

  • Overland, J. E., and P. S. Guest, 1991: The Arctic snow and air temperature budget over sea ice during winter. J. Geophys. Res.,96, 4652–4662.

  • ——, and K. L. Davidson, 1992: Geostrophic drag coefficients over sea ice. Tellus,44, 54–66.

  • ——, and P. Turet, 1994: Variability of the atmospheric energy flux across 70°N computed from the GFDL data set. Nansen Centennial Volume, Geophys. Monogr., No. 84, Amer. Geophys. Union, 313–325.

  • ——, ——, and A. H. Oort, 1996: Regional variations of moist static energy flux into the Arctic. J. Climate,9, 54–65.

  • Peixoto, J. P., and A. H. Oort, 1992: The Physics of Climate. American Institute of Physics, 520 pp.

  • Reed, R. J., 1962: Arctic forecast guide. U.S. Navy Weather Research Facility Tech. Rep. NWRF 16-0462-058, 107 pp. [Available from NOAA Library Seattle, NOAA/PMEL, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.].

  • Rodgers, C. D., and C. D. Walshaw, 1966: The computation of infra-red cooling rate in planetary atmospheres. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc.,92, 67–92.

  • Rossow, W. B., and R. A. Schiffer, 1991: ISCCP cloud data products. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,72, 2–20.

  • Schoeberl, M. R., and D. L. Hartmann, 1991: The dynamics of the stratospheric polar vortex and its relation to springtime ozone depletions. Science,251, 46–52.

  • Schubert, S., R. B. Rood, and J. Pfaendtner, 1993: An assimilated dataset for earth science applications. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,74, 2331–2342.

  • ——, C.-K. Park, C.-Y. Wu, W. Higgins, Y. Kondratyeva, A. Molod, L. Takacs, M. Seablom, and R. Rood, 1995: A multiyear assimilation with the GEOS-1 system: Overview and results. NASA Tech. Memo. 104606, Vol. 6, 182 pp. [Available from NASA Center for Aerospace Information, 800 Elkridge Landing Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.].

  • Schweiger, A. J., 1992: Arctic radiative fluxes modeled from the ISCCP-C2 data set, 1983–1986. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Colorado, 218 pp.

  • ——, and J. R. Key, 1994: Arctic Ocean radiative fluxes and cloud forcing estimated from the ISCCP C2 cloud dataset, 1983–1990. J. Appl. Meteor.,33, 948–963.

  • Serreze, M. C., and R. G. Barry, 1988: Synoptic activity in the Arctic basin, 1979–85. J. Climate,1, 1276–1295.

  • ——, J. D. Kahl, and R. C. Schnell, 1992: Low-level temperature inversions of the Eurasian Arctic and comparisons with Soviet drifting station data. J. Climate,5, 615–629.

  • ——, J. E. Box, R. G. Barry, and J. E. Walsh, 1993: Characteristics of Arctic synoptic activity, 1952–1989. Meteor. Atmos. Phys.,51, 147–164.

  • Takacs, L. L., A. Molod, and T. Wang, 1994: Documentation of the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) general circulation model—Version 1. NASA Tech. Memo. 104606, Vol. 1, 100 pp. [Available from NASA Center for Aerospace Information, 800 Elkridge Landing Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.].

  • Treshnikov, A. F., 1985: Atlas of the Arctic. Arctic and Antarctic Institute, 204 pp.

  • Valdes, P. J., and B. J. Hoskins, 1989: Linear stationary wave simulations of the time-mean climatological flow. J. Atmos. Sci.,46, 2509–2527.

  • ——, and ——, 1991: Nonlinear orographically forced planetary waves. J. Atmos. Sci.,48, 2089–2106.

  • Walsh, J. E., and W. L. Chapman, 1990: Short-term climatic variability of the Arctic. J. Climate,3, 237–250.

  • Yu, Y., 1996: Regional Arctic ice thickness and brine flux from AVHRR. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington, 143 pp.

APPENDIX

Validation of the NASA GEOS-1 Reanalysis Dataset

The January surface temperature climatologies from the NASA GEOS-1 and NCEP/NCAR reanalysis datasets (Fig. A1) show discrepancies from the climatologies in Fig. 3. Although the spatial pattern in the GEOS-1 5-yr climatology (Fig. A1a) is consistent with the other datasets, the temperatures are much colder than the other climatologies: the image is plotted with the temperature scale offset by 12° relative to Fig. 3. The NCEP/NCAR 13-yr climatology (Fig. A1b) has a more consistent range of values but shows an unrealistic wavelike pattern in the western Arctic, extending from Eureka toward Barrow, Alaska. We hypothesized that this is due to incorrect extrapolation of assimilated observations. The wavelike pattern appears even more strongly in the diagnostic radiative fields (not shown) and discouraged us from exploring this dataset further.

Several validations of the GEOS-1 reanalysis are documented in Schubert et al. (1995), but none focus exclusively on high latitudes and most are comparisons of monthly mean statistics. Here we focus on validation of the GEOS-1 temperature fields in the Arctic by comparing them to daily observations. Figure A2 contains comparisons of daily surface observations from the Russian drifting ice station NP28 and the land stations Eureka and Chelyuskin (solid lines) with the GEOS-1 reanalysis (dotted lines) for the 6-month winter season, October 1987 through March 1988. The 6-h observations of sea level pressure (Fig. A2a) are in excellent agreement, with a mean difference of 1.4 mb and standard deviation of 2.2. This leads us to believe that the NP28 observations were assimilated into the GEOS-1 reanalysis because sea level pressure is a prognostic parameter, constrained to match the assimilated data. However, surface air temperature is a diagnostic parameter, which is strictly model derived. The surface air temperature estimate is made by assuming that the model’s lowest layer is well mixed, with potential temperature constant in that layer (Takacs et al. 1994). The comparisons of GEOS-1 surface air temperatures with observations from NP28 (Fig. A2b), Eureka (Fig. A2c), and Chelyuskin (Fig. A2d) give different results: the GEOS-1 estimates are much colder than the observations. At NP28, which was located in the central Arctic near the pole, the mean difference was 7.0°C with a standard deviation of 5.0°C. At Eureka, located in the western Arctic, the mean difference was 3.6°C with a standard deviation of 7.2°C. At Chelyuskin, on the eastern side, the mean difference was 12.6°C with a standard deviation of 6.6°C. Additional comparisons with other drifting ice stations in different regions around the Arctic produced similar statistics.

The overall shapes of the curves in Fig. A2 are relatively well matched. The GEOS-1 reanalysis appears to be successfully tracking events but not always capturing the magnitude of the temperature changes. Other investigators have found the GEOS-1 model to underestimate cloud forcing and cloud amounts at high latitudes (Schubert et al. 1995; Molod et al. 1996). Figure A3 contains a sample of observations of surface air temperature and cloud fraction from the Russian drifting ice station NP27 and the GEOS-1 reanalysis for January and February 1986 that reinforce this conclusion. Surface air temperature and cloud fraction at NP28 (solid lines) are well correlated: it is colder under clear skies and warmer when clouds are present because of increased downward longwave fluxes. When the two datasets agree on the surface temperature (e.g., 12, 17, 22, and 28 February), both indicate mostly clear skies and temperatures are at local minima. When the datasets agree on the cloud fraction (e.g., 30 January, 8 February), the GEOS-1 estimate is still too cold; the warming effect of the clouds is too weak in the GEOS-1 model, even if skies are completely overcast.

We have much more confidence in the upper-air data from the GEOS-1 reanalysis. These prognostic parameters are strongly influenced by the assimilated observations and compare well with soundings from the Russian drifting ice stations and the coastal stations around the perimeter of the Arctic. The representative soundings in Fig. A4 are very much like all the soundings we compared at a variety of locations during several winters. The GEOS-1 data match the observations extremely well at all levels above the layer of maximum temperature, which occurs at approximately 900 mb. Below this level, the GEOS-1 temperature profile is too cold because of the influence of the surface temperature field, and the strength of the surface-based inversion is always overestimated.

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Monthly mean temperature soundings for February 1987 from 6 land stations around the perimeter of the Arctic ocean: 1) Krenkel (81°N, 58°E), 2) Chelyuskin (78°N, 104°E), 3) Kotelny (76°N, 138°E), 4) Barrow (71°N, 158°W), 5) Mould Bay (76°N, 119°W), and 6) Eureka (80°N, 86°W). Data are from the Historical Arctic Rawinsonde Archive (Kahl et al. 1992). All stations show similar profiles but vary in the details.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Six-year time series of surface air temperature in °C at two land stations on opposite sides of the Arctic. The eastern station (Chelyuskin) is at 78°N, 104°E; the western station (Eureka) is at 80°N, 86°W. The time series is smoothed with a 30-day running mean. Eureka is consistently colder throughout the cold season.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

January climatologies of surface temperature from four independent sources: (a) AORF dataset, 1983–90; (b) °C poles 2-m air temperature observations interpolated to a 200-km grid, 1979–93; (c) Nimbus-7 infrared radiometer, 1979–85; and (d) the Russian atlas. The data are plotted on an equal-area azimuthal projection centered on the North Pole, with western longitudes on the left side and eastern longitudes on the right side. The 70° and 80° latitude circles and the 0°, 180°, 90°E, and 90°W longitude lines are drawn with dashed contours. See text for references.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Primary components of the wintertime surface energy budget. (a) Downward longwave flux and (b) upward longwave flux at the surface for January 1987 from the AORF dataset; (c) 5-yr January climatology of sensible heat flux from the GEOS-1 reanalysis; (d) AORF outgoing longwave radiation for January 1987. All parameters are in W m−2.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

Total surface flux (Qnet) and residual flux (OLR minus Qnet) in W m−2 for January 1987. Top panels are from the AORF dataset; bottom panels are from the GEOS-1 reanalysis.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

Monthly means for January 1987 of (a) 500-mb temperature in °C, (b) 700-mb specific humidity in g kg−1, (c) 500-mb height in dam, and (d) isentropic potential vorticity on the θ = 285-K surface, which is roughly located at the 500-mb level. All data are from the GEOS-1 reanalysis.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

Same as Fig. 6 but all plots are monthly means for February 1987.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 8.
Fig. 8.

Same as Fig. 6 but all plots are January–February 5-yr means.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 9.
Fig. 9.

Gray-shaded contours of surface orography for elevations between 0.5 and 1 km, 1 and 2 km, 2 and 3 km, and 3 km and above. Overlain line contours are for the upper-level (σ = 0.2) perturbation streamfunction response to forcing by the Rocky Mountains. Contour interval is approximately 2.2 × 106 m2 s−1. The zero contour is the thick solid line. Latitude circles are drawn at 40°, 60°, and 80°N. (Taken from Valdes and Hoskins 1989.) This figure shows the tie between the location and orientation of the Rocky Mountains and their influence on the location of the upper-level atmospheric circulation anomalies.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 10.
Fig. 10.

Standard deviation of the 5-yr-mean 700-mb height for January, calculated from the GEOS-1 reanalysis dataset and contoured in dam. High values are associated with the height anomalies caused by transient cyclones and are an indicator of increased synoptic activity.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Fig. 11.
Fig. 11.

(a), (b), and (c) Air temperatures at 2-m in °C from the POLES air temperature dataset and (d), (e) and (f) 500-mb height in dam from the GEOS-1 reanalysis. Monthly means for January 1988, 1989, and 1990 are shown, respectively, in the top, center, and bottom panels.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

i1520-0442-10-5-821-f0a1

Fig. A1. January climatologies of surface temperature in °C. (a) NASA GEOS-1 reanalysis, 1985–90 and (b) NCEP/NCAR reanalysis, 1982–94.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

i1520-0442-10-5-821-f0a2

Fig. A2. Comparisons of daily surface observations (solid lines) with the GEOS-1 reanalysis (dotted lines) for the 6-month winter season October 1987 through March 1988. The GEOS-1 data are compared to (a) sea level pressure (in mb) and (b) surface air temperature (in °C) at the Russian drifting ice station NP28, which was initially located at 84°N, 155°E and ended up near the pole at the date line, traveling a great circle distance of 517 km. Surface air temperatures were also compared at (c) Eureka (80°N, 86°W) and (d) Chelyuskin (78°N, 104°E). See text for comparison statistics.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

i1520-0442-10-5-821-f0a3

Fig. A3. Observations of (a) surface air temperature and (b) cloud fraction from the Russian drifting ice station NP27 (solid lines) compared to the GEOS-1 reanalysis (dotted lines). Plots show daily averages from 25 January to 28 February 1986. All observations are within the grid box centered at 84°N, 147.5°E. GEOS-1 and NP27 have similar temperatures for clear-sky conditions but diverge under cloudy conditions.

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

i1520-0442-10-5-821-f0a4

Fig. A4. Comparison of January 1987 mean temperature soundings from Russian drifting ice station NP28 (solid line) and GEOS-1 reanalysis (dashed line). The ice station was located within the grid cell centered at 80°N, 167.5°E. Profiles match above 900 mb but diverge near the surface, with the GEOS-1 reanalysis being too cold. Results are similar for other months and locations (not shown).

Citation: Journal of Climate 10, 5; 10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<0821:RVOWTI>2.0.CO;2

Table 1.

Correlation coefficients for surface air temperatures and three upper-level parameters for January.

Table 1.
Table 2.

Correlation coefficients for surface air temperatures and three upper-level parameters for February.

Table 2.
Save