Global Atmospheric Circulation

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1 Global Atmospheric Circulation Polar Climatology & Climate Variability Lecture 11 Nov. 22, 2010 Global Atmospheric Circulation Global Atmospheric Circulation Global Atmospheric Circulation The Polar Vortex a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near the Earth's poles, in the middle and upper troposphere and the stratosphere. Location of tropospheric jet streams Polar jet and midtroposphere pressure

2 Polar Jet and Subtropical Jet Polar Jet and Subtropical Jet L Aleutian H N. AmericanHBeaufort H Siberian Semipermanent Pressure Features Tropospheric Polar Vortex Upper Troposphere Geopotential Height Arctic L summer L L L L Icelandic Height level of 300 mb isobar Arctic Storm Tracks Limited penetration into Arctic except through North Atlantic due to fairly zonal steering and blocking by land masses

3 Polar Lows and Arctic Hurricanes Small cyclones forming over open sea during the cold season within polar or arctic air masses are called "polar lows." Typical Polar Lows comma shape indicates early formation of low western Bering Sea, March 1977 NOAA IR image Barents Sea 27 Feb NOAA visible image from nsidc.org Tropospheric Polar Vortex Upper Troposphere Geopotential Height Antarctic L Pressure (hpa) Antarctic Inversions Height Above Surface (m) Temperature ( C) Height level of 300 mb isobar During most of the year air temperatures increase significantly with height above the surface of the Antarctic Plateau Antarctic Inversions Temperature Profile 25 Sep Antarctic Inversions Pressure (hpa) Height Above Surface (m) Temperature ( C) An inversion exists over the Antarctic Plateau because of the small amount of solar energy absorbed at the surface and the smaller emissivity of the atmosphere, compared to the surface. + Vostok Station Typical magnitude of inversion over Antarctica C Strong (solid line) and weak (dotted line) over Vostok Station

4 Antarctic Mean Sea Level Pressure High over continent is artificial (continent is not at sea level!) Low Pressure trough surrounds Continent - reflects continual incursion of extra-tropical cyclones over sea ice regions Southward track of storms bring moisture poleward - snowfall is highest at ice edge, lowest at pole Mean July SLP Cyclone Tracks The Antarctic Ozone Hole October 26, 2003 an area of the antarctic stratosphere in which the recent (since about 1975) ozone levels have dropped to as low as 33% of their pre-1975 values Cold Ozone Concentration Profile Sept. 12, 2002 O 3 + UV >>> O 2 + O O 3 + O >>> 2O 2 O 3 + O 3 >>> 3O 2 Cl + O 3 >>> ClO + O 2 Low Oxone Very cold stratosphere ClO + O = Cl + O 2 ClO + NO 2 >>> ClONO 2 CH 4 + Cl >>> HCl + CH 3

5 Katabatic Winds Katabatic Winds a wind that carries high density air from a higher elevation down a slope under the force of gravity. Such winds are sometimes also called fall winds. Winds descend along glacier drainage routes Sea Smoke Sea Smoke in the Beaufort Sea Condensation of vapor over a large lead in the Ross Sea photo: Mike Van Woert Cloud streets forming downwind of a lead Photo by T. Arbetter, Univ. of Colorado Ice Fog North Atlantic Oscillation - The NAO is the dominant mode of winter climate variability in the North Atlantic region ranging from central North America to Europe and much into Northern Asia. - The NAO is a large scale seesaw in atmospheric mass between the subtropical high and the polar low. - The corresponding index varies from year to year, but also exhibits a tendency to remain in one phase for intervals lasting several years. Ice fog on a cold day in Fairbanks. One of the world s strongest inversions provides very stable and stagnant air Vehicle exhaust is trapped and provides nuclei for ice condensation photo: Fairbanks Daily News Miner

6 NAO Positive Mode -The Positive NAO index phase shows a stronger than usual subtropical high pressure center and a deeper than normal Icelandic low. -The increased pressure difference results in more and stronger winter storms crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a more northerly track. -This results in warm and wet winters in Europe and in cold and dry winters in northern Canada and Greenland. -The eastern US experiences mild and wet winter conditions. NAO Negative Mode -The negative NAO index phase shows a weak subtropical high and a weak Icelandic low. -The reduced pressure gradient results in fewer and weaker winter storms crossing on a more west-east pathway. -They bring moist air into the Mediterranean and cold air to northern Europe. -The US east coast experiences more cold air outbreaks and hence snowy weather conditions. -Greenland, however, will have milder winter temperatures + Positive Phase Effects of NAO on Surface Pressure Negative Phase - Positive Deeper Icelandic Low pressure Stronger Azores High pressure Lower Pressure in Arctic More N. Atlantic storms Milder, wetter eastern U.S. and N. Europe Drier S. Europe Negative Reduced pressure gradient in N. Atlantic Higher Pressure in Arctic Fewer N. Atlantic storms Drier, colder eastern U.S. and N. Europe Wetter S. Europe From Ice in the Ocean, P. Wadhams -The "high index" of the AO is defined as periods of below normal Arctic SLP, enhanced surface westerlies in the north Atlantic, and warmer and wetter than normal conditions in northern Europe. This is depicted as the "warm phase. - "Low index" AO conditions are described in the "cool phase" panel. Arctic Oscillation -The AO exhibits a "negative phase" with relatively high pressure over the polar region and low pressure at midlatitudes (about 45 degrees North), and a "positive phase" in which the pattern is reversed. - In the positive phase, higher pressure at midlatitudes drives ocean storms farther north, and changes in the circulation pattern bring wetter weather to Alaska, Scotland and Scandinavia, as well as drier conditions to the western United States and the Mediterranean. - In the positive phase, frigid winter air does not extend as far into the middle of North America as it would during the negative phase of the oscillation. This keeps much of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains warmer than normal, but leaves Greenland and Newfoundland colder than usual. - Weather patterns in the negative phase are in general "opposite" to those of the positive phase.

7 Arctic Oscillation Effects of AO on Arctic Surface Temperatures The AO is the dominant pattern of non-seasonal sea-level pressure (SLP) variations north of 20N, and it is characterized by SLP anomalies of one sign in the Arctic and anomalies of opposite sign centered about 37-45N From J. Wallace, U. of Washington A positive AO causes a cooling over Greenland and Labrador Sea, warming over Russian Arctic and Greenland Sea +ve Effect of AO on Ice Drift NAO begins in Polar Vortex -It is really an Arctic Oscillation (AO)! Weaker Vortex Stronger Vortex -ve Difference Pulls storm tracks northward Effects of the Negative Phase Effects of the Positive Phase of the Arctic Oscillation of the Arctic Oscillation Modelled Ice Thickness Change due to NAO Thinner Effect of NAO on Atlantic Layer Modeled changes In Atlantic water inflow Atlantic layer penetrates to Alpha ridge, rather than Lomonosov ridge Negative phase Positive phase Thicker

8 Effect of NAO on Halocline Is the Variability Varying? Observed Changes in Cold Halocline distribution Cold halocline water retreats to Canadian basin AO Red contour represents boundary of main cold halocline layer Surface Temp Antarctic Circumpolar Wave The Antarctic Circumpolar Wave The El Nino Connection -A set of anomalies in atmospheric pressure, sea ice cover, seasurface temperature, and wind stress that propagate eastwards around the Antarctic continent. -The anomalies originate from oceanic Rossby waves within the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, approximately between latitudes 40 S and 70 S.

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