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Kyle Griffin

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Investigations of the preferred modes of North Pacific jet variability, their downstream impacts, and tropical and extratropical precursors

Room 811 AOSS, April 25, 2016, 3:30 PM


Time extended EOF (TE-EOF) analysis is employed to examine the synoptic-scale evolution of the two leading modes of north Pacific jet stream variability, namely its zonal extension/retraction (TE-EOF 1) and the north/south shift of its exit region (TE-EOF 2). Composite analyses are constructed preceding and following peaks in the principal component associated with each of the two TE-EOFs, providing insight into the preferred evolutions of the north Pacific jet. Jet extension events are associated with an anomalous Gulf of Alaska cyclone, while jet retractions are associated with an anomalous ridge over the Aleutians. Similar but shifted upper level patterns are noted with the corresponding poleward/equatorward shifted jet phases, with the poleward (equatorward) shift of the jet exit region associated with anomalous low-level warmth (cold) over western North America. Such composites also suggest connections between certain phases of these leading modes of jet variability and deep convection in the tropics, a connection that has been challenging to physically diagnose in previous studies. The isentropic pressure depth measures the mass contained within an isentropic layer in a given grid column, enabling the tracking of mass exhausted by deep convection. The gradient of isentropic pressure depth is directly associated with the vertical geostrophic wind shear in that layer and thus provides a means to track the influence of convective mass flux on the evolution of the jet stream. A case study focused on the extreme North American warm episode of March 2012 demonstrates how positive pressure depth anomalies from a strong MJO event impact the jet stream over eastern Asia and drive a portion of the mid-latitude response that leads to the flow amplification and subsequent downstream warmth. This study demonstrates one way by which isentropic pressure depth can diagnose the impacts of tropical deep convection on the mid-latitude circulation. Using TE-EOFs, composites of isentropic pressure depth are constructed, to examine the evolution of pressure depth anomalies preceding each phase of the two leading modes of jet variability. In jet extension events, a large negative pressure depth anomaly in the 315-330 K isentropic layer and a positive pressure depth anomaly in the 340-355 K isentropic layer align north and south of the climatological jet exit region, respectively. A similar but opposite configuration is found in jet retraction events. During poleward shifted jet events, the configuration of pressure depth anomalies is comparable to that observed in jet extension events, but shifted poleward. Positive pressure depth anomalies in each set of events predominantly originate from either the Maritime Continent or East Asia and track along the climatological jet before impacting the exit region of the jet stream. Negative pressure depth anomalies have similar upstream origins before moving through the jet in a similar manner. These composite evolutions provide insight into the synoptic-scale evolutions that precede the preferred modes of jet variability, highlighting the influence of both mid-latitude weather systems and mass flux from tropical deep convection on North Pacific jet variability.

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