Stratosphere - troposphere interaction during stratospheric sudden warming events
Author(s)Domeisen, Daniela I. V. (Daniela Iris Vera)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
R. Alan Plumb.
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The stratosphere and the troposphere exhibit a strong coupling during the winter months. However, the coupling mechanisms between the respective vertical layers are not fully understood. An idealized spectral core dynamical model is utilized in the present study in order to clarify the coupling timing, location and mechanisms. Since the coupling between the winter stratosphere and troposphere is strongly intensified during times of strong stratospheric variability such as stratospheric warmings, these events are simulated in the described model for the study of stratosphere - troposphere coupling, while for comparison the coupling is also assessed for weaker stratospheric variability. While the upward coupling by planetary-scale Rossby waves in the Northern Hemisphere is well understood, the Southern Hemisphere exhibits traveling wave patterns with a weaker impact on the stratospheric ow. However the tropospheric generation mechanism of these waves is not well understood and is investigated in this study. It is found that in the model atmosphere without a zonally asymmetric wave forcing, traveling waves are unable to induce a significant wave ux into the stratosphere. In the absence of synoptic eddy activity, however, the tropospheric ow is baroclinically unstable to planetary-scale waves, and the generated planetary waves are able to propagate into the stratosphere and induce sudden warmings comparable in frequency and strength to the Northern Hemisphere. While baroclinic instability of long waves may be further strengthened by the addition of moisture, the real atmosphere also exhibits strong synoptic eddy activity, and it will have to be further explored if the atmosphere exhibits periods where synoptic eddies are weak enough to allow for baroclinic instability of long waves. In order to further investigate the coupling between the stratosphere and the troposphere, cases of strong coupling are investigated in the analysis of a Northern Hemisphere - like winter atmosphere. A realistic frequency and strength of sudden warmings is obtained using a zonal wave-2 topographic forcing. An angular momentum budget analysis yields that the Eliassen-Palm (EP) flux is closely balanced by the residual circulation dominated by the Coriolis term on a daily basis, while the change in zonal wind is a small residual between these dominant terms. In the stratosphere, the EP flux term and the Coriolis term balance well in time but not exactly in magnitude, yielding a polar stratospheric weakening of the zonal mean wind as observed during stratospheric warmings. In the troposphere, the loss of angular momentum before a sudden warming induces a weak negative annular mode response, which is amplified by the downward propagating signal about three weeks after the sudden warming. The angular momentum budget does not reveal the mechanism of downward influence, but it nevertheless clarifies the momentum balance of the stratosphere - troposphere system, indicating that the effects of the waves and the residual circulation have to be considered at the same time. Since the annular mode response cannot be directly investigated using the angular momentum budget, the annular mode coupling between the stratosphere and the troposphere is further investigated using a statistical approach. The annular mode response is often framed in terms of Empirical Orthogonal Functions (EOFs), but it is here found that for the stratosphere - troposphere system with its strong vertical pressure gradient, EOFs are strongly dependent on the weighting of the data, while Principal Oscillation Patterns (POPs) are considerably less sensitive to an applied weighting while returning the dominant structures of variability. This encourages further research and application of POP modes for the use of stratosphere - troposphere coupling. These findings represent an improvement of the understanding of stratosphere - troposphere coupling and the results are another step in the direction of finding the mechanism of stratosphere - troposphere coupling and the downward influence after the occurrence of a stratospheric sudden warming, which may influence long-term weather prediction in the troposphere.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 2012.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 185-192).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.