Mountain Torques and Northern Hemisphere Low-Frequency Variability. Part II: Hemispheric Aspects

Lott, François; Robertson, Andrew W.; Ghil, Michael

Important aspects of low-frequency variability (LFV) are regional in character, while the mountain torques of the Rockies and the Himalayas evolve quite independently of each other. The hemispheric analysis of Part I is complemented therefore herein by an analysis of the relationships between individual mountain torques and sectorial LFV patterns in the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis. In the 20–30-day band, relationships are found between the Rockies (Himalayas) torque and the dominant patterns of LFV over the Pacific (Eurasia). The composites of the atmospheric flow fields that accompany the Rockies (Himalayas) torque in this band exhibit similarities with known low-frequency oscillations that dominate the Pacific and North American (European and North Atlantic) sectors during certain winters. The composites keyed to the 20–30-day Rockies torque affect the persistent North Pacific (PNP) pattern that controls the extension of the midlatitude jet stream over the eastern Pacific. Furthermore, the unfiltered torques for the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Rockies anticipate the onset of the two dominant winter Pacific circulation regimes that correlate strongly with the PNP pattern. The composites keyed to the 20–30-day Himalayas torque affect the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) pattern, which controls the intensity of the North Atlantic jet stream. Furthermore, the unfiltered torques for the NH and the Himalayas anticipate the breaks of the two dominant winter Atlantic circulation regimes, which correlate strongly with the NAO pattern. These analyses also show that the 20–30-day Rockies (Himalayas) torques produce substantial atmospheric angular momentum (AAM) changes, which are nearly in phase with and larger in amplitude than the AAM changes associated with the midlatitude eastern Pacific (North Atlantic) jet stream variations seen in the composite maps. This result suggests that the Rockies (Himalayas) torque variations drive, at least partially, but actively the changes in the eastern Pacific (North Atlantic) jet stream. These results are consistent with the Himalayas and the Rockies torques contributing separately to changes in the two leading hemispheric EOFs that were described in Part I; the two are associated with a hemispheric index cycle and the Arctic Oscillation, respectively.


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Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences

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Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Published Here
August 14, 2012