7.5 An Analysis of Sudden Stratospheric Warmings and QBO-like oscillations in Idealized General Circulation Models

Wednesday, 28 June 2017: 9:00 AM
Salon G-I (Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront)
Christiane Jablonowski, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and W. Yao

The paper demonstrates that sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) and quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO)–like oscillations can be simulated in an ensemble of dry dynamical cores that miss the typical forcing mechanisms like moist processes, land–sea contrasts, or topography. These idealized general circulation model (GCM) simulations are driven by a simple Held–Suarez–type temperature relaxation and low-level Rayleigh friction. In particular, the four dynamical cores of NCAR’s Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 (CAM5), are used, which are the semi-Lagrangian (SLD) and Eulerian (EUL) spectral-transform models and the finite-volume (FV) and the spectral element (SE) models.

Three research themes will be presented. First, it is shown that SSW events in such idealized simulations have very realistic flow characteristics that are analyzed via the SLD model. A single vortex-split event is highlighted that is driven by wavenumber-1 and -2 wave–mean flow interactions. Second, the SLD simulations are compared to the EUL, FV, and SE dynamical cores. Only SLD produces major SSWs, while others only exhibit minor stratospheric warmings. These differences are caused by SLD’s more vigorous wave–mean flow interactions in addition to a warm pole bias, which leads to relatively weak polar jets in SLD. Third, it is shown that tropical quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO)–like oscillations and SSWs can coexist in such idealized dynamical core simulations. The paper sheds light on the impact of the numerical schemes and their diffusion properties on the physical phenomena.

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