92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Thursday, 26 January 2012
A Reduced-Variable View of GCM Projections of Mid-Latitude Storm Tracks
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Christina Karamperidou, Columbia University, New York, NY; and J. Booth and U. Lall

The geographic distribution and intensity of mid-latitude storm tracks is strongly linked to major hydroclimatic events, which can cause losses of life and property. Most climate models agree that Global Warming will lead to a poleward shift of the storm track and an intensification of the jet stream, and hence a shift of the region of high precipitation towards higher latitudes. Analogs between the response of the storm track to climate change and the response to dominant patterns of climate variability have also drawn attention; for example it has been shown that the extratropical atmospheric responses to global warming are somewhat in the opposite fashion to the El Niņo teleconnection pattern.

We examine the spatio-temporal changes in the jet stream and storm tracks in the 20th and 21st century simulations of AR5 GCMs and their links to tropical climate variability, by drawing analogs from low-order climate models. In particular, we examine the GCM results in a reduced-variable space inspired by the Lorenz-1984 atmospheric model. This approach provides a simplified description of circulation features, which is informative of the partitioning of the energy between the mean zonal wind and the eddies, and the potential changes in the relationship between the strength and position of these circulation features. We explore the response and sensitivity of the jet stream and the low-level wind components to changes in surface temperature gradients in different regions of the hemispheres and link them to the projected changes in precipitation patterns. Finally, in a dynamical systems theory context, we view tropical-extratropical teleconnections as manifest in mid-latitude predictability, and examine the projected changes in their strength and their influence in mid-latitude predictability at multiple time-scales.

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