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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32893

Title: Eurasian Snow Cover and the Role of Linear Interference in Stratosphere-troposphere Interactions
Authors: Smith, Karen
Advisor: Kushner, Paul
Department: Physics
Keywords: Northern Annular Mode
Eurasian snow
Stratosphere-troposphere coupling
Linear interference
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2012
Abstract: The classical problem of predicting the atmospheric circulation response to extratropical surface forcing is revisited in the context of the observed connection between autumn snow cover anomalies over Eurasia and the wintertime Northern Annular Mode (NAM). In general circulation model (GCM) simulations with prescribed autumn Siberian snow forcing, a vertically propagating Rossby wave train is generated, driving dynamical stratospheric warming and a negative NAM response that couples to the troposphere. It is shown that unexplained aspects of the evolution of this response can be clarified by examining the time evolution of the phasing, and hence the linear interference, between the wave response and the background climatological wave. When the wave response and background wave are in phase (out of phase), wave activity into the stratosphere is amplified (attenuated) and the zonal mean stratosphere-troposphere NAM response displays a negative (positive) tendency. This effect is probed further in a simplified GCM with imposed lower tropospheric cooling. As in the comprehensive GCM, linear interference strongly influences the NAM response. The transition from linear to nonlinear behaviour is shown to depend on forcing strength. Linear interference also plays a key role in the observed October Eurasian snow cover-NAM connection. It is shown that the time lag between October Eurasian snow anomalies and the peak wave activity flux arises because the Rossby wave train associated with the snow is out of phase with the climatological stationary wave from October to mid-November. Beginning in mid-November, the associated wave anomaly migrates into phase with the climatological wave, leading to constructive interference and anomalously positive upward wave activity fluxes. Current generation climate models do not capture this behaviour. Linear interference is not only associated with stratospheric warming due to Eurasian snow cover anomalies but is a general feature of both Northern and Southern Hemisphere stratosphere-troposphere interactions, and in particular dominated the negative NAM events of the fall-winter of 2009-2010. The interannual variability in upward wave activity flux during the season of strongest stratosphere-troposphere interactions is primarily determined by linear interference of quasi-stationary waves. The persistence of the linear interference component of this flux may help improve wintertime extratropical predictability.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32893
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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