6.5 Connections between the Stratosphere and Surface Weather Associated with the Stratospheric Sudden Warming in Early 2018

Wednesday, 9 January 2019: 11:30 AM
West 212A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Steven Pawson, GMAO, Greenbelt, MD; and L. Coy and K. Wargan

A major Stratospheric Sudden Warming (SSW) occurred on 11 February 2018. This was the first major SSW since January 2013 and the first split-vortex SSW since January 2009. We examine the SSW and the tropospheric connections using the NASA MERRA-2 reanalysis (1980-2018) and the NASA GEOS Forward Processing (FP) system. A strong tropospheric wave forcing event in January 2018 displaced the stratospheric vortex off the pole. This displaced vortex persisted until the major SSW vortex split in February. At the time of the major SSW split vortex event the MERRA-2 100 hPa meridional heat flux, a measure of the tropospheric forcing on the stratosphere, attained record high values, associated with a strong tropospheric ridge over the US west coast and wave disturbances over the North Atlantic and Asia. The near-real-time GEOS-FP system forecasted the major SSW event with high skill out to 10 days. The analyses also show that after, the SSW, a steady circulation anomaly persisted over the European sector and the transient weather systems were concentrated over the North American continent, under the stronger of the two split vortices. The propagation of these synoptic-scale vortices around the deep, quasi-stationary vortex that extended from the surface into the stratosphere, is well illustrated in animations of extreme temperature changes near the surface over North America. A quantitative analysis of these synoptic waves and their propagation will examine their signatures in potential vorticity and other fields.
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