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Zachary J. Handlos

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

Composite and Case Study Analyses of the Large-Scale Environments Associated with West Pacific Polar and Subtropical Vertical Jet Superposition Events

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


Though considerable research attention has been devoted to examination of the Northern Hemispheric polar and subtropical jet streams, relatively little has been directed toward understanding the circumstances that conspire to produce the relatively rare vertical superposition of these usually separate features. This dissertation investigates the structure and evolution of large-scale environments associated with jet superposition events in the northwest Pacific. An objective identification scheme, using NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 1 data, is employed to identify all jet superpositions in the west Pacific (30-40°N, 135-175°E) for boreal winters (DJF) between 1979/80 - 2009/10. The analysis reveals that environments conducive to west Pacific jet superposition share several large-scale features usually associated with East Asian Winter Monsoon (EAWM) northerly cold surges, including the presence of an enhanced Hadley Cell-like circulation within the jet entrance region. It is further demonstrated that several EAWM indices are statistically significantly correlated with jet superposition frequency in the west Pacific. The life cycle of EAWM cold surges promotes interaction between tropical convection and internal jet dynamics. Low potential vorticity (PV), high ?e tropical boundary layer air, exhausted by anomalous convection in the west Pacific lower latitudes, is advected poleward towards the equatorward side of the jet in upper tropospheric isentropic layers resulting in anomalous anticyclonic wind shear that accelerates the jet. This, along with geostrophic cold air advection in the left jet entrance region that drives the polar tropopause downward through the jet core, promotes the development of the deep, vertical PV wall characteristic of superposed jets. West Pacific jet superpositions preferentially form within an environment favoring the aforementioned characteristics regardless of EAWM seasonal strength. Post-superposition, it is shown that the west Pacific jet extends eastward and is associated with an upper tropospheric cyclonic (anticyclonic) anomaly in its left (right) exit region. A downstream ridge is present over northwest Canada, and within the strong EAWM environment, a wavier flow over North America is observed relative to the neutral EAWM environment. Preliminary investigation of the two weak EAWM season superpositions reveals a Kona Low type feature post-superposition. This is associated with anomalous convection reminiscent of an atmospheric river southwest of Mexico.

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