7B.2 Diagnosing the Characteristic Interaction between the Polar and Subtropical Jet Streams during North American Jet Superposition Events

Tuesday, 8 January 2019: 3:15 PM
North 122BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Andrew C. Winters, Univ. at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY; and D. Keyser and L. Bosart

The atmosphere often exhibits a three-step pole-to-equator tropopause structure, with each break in the tropopause associated with a jet stream. The polar jet (PJ) stream typically resides in the break between the polar and the subtropical tropopause and is positioned atop the strongly baroclinic, tropospheric-deep polar front at ~50°N. The subtropical jet (SJ) stream resides in the break between the subtropical and the tropical tropopause and is situated on the poleward edge of the Hadley cell at ~30°N. On occasion, the latitudinal separation between the PJ and the SJ can vanish, resulting in a vertical jet superposition. Prior case study work indicates that the dynamical and thermodynamic environments accompanying jet superpositions often promote the development of vigorous transverse vertical circulations that can lead to the production of high-impact weather. Furthermore, this prior work suggests that there is considerable variability among antecedent environments conducive to the production of jet superpositions. These considerations motivate a comprehensive examination of the relative importance of dynamical processes that operate within the double-jet environment to produce jet superpositions. This study focuses on the identification of North American jet superposition events in the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis dataset during November–March 1979–2010. Jet superposition events are classified into three characteristic types: “Polar Dominant” events consist of events during which only the PJ is characterized by a substantial excursion from its climatological latitude band; “Subtropical Dominant” events consist of events during which only the SJ is characterized by a substantial excursion from its climatological latitude band; and “Hybrid” events consist of events characterized by an excursion of both the PJ and SJ from their climatological latitude bands. Following their classification, piecewise potential vorticity inversions (PPVIs) are performed on each event type in an effort to diagnose the characteristic interactions between potential vorticity anomalies along the polar and subtropical waveguides during the production of jet superpositions for each event type. Predicated on the results from the PPVIs, the relevance of jet superpositions to the development of high-impact weather within a changing climate is discussed.
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