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Spectral Decomposition and Extremes of Atmospheric Meridional Energy Transport in the Northern Hemisphere Midlatitudes
Univ Hamburg, Meteorol Inst, Hamburg, Germany.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL. Stockholm Univ, Dept Meteorol, Stockholm, Sweden;Stockholm Univ, Bolin Ctr Climate Res, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2032-5211
Univ Tromso, Dept Phys & Technol, Tromso, Norway.
Univ Hamburg, Meteorol Inst, Hamburg, Germany;Univ Reading, Dept Math & Stat, Reading, Berks, England;Univ Reading, Ctr Math Planet Earth, Dept Math & Stat, Reading, Berks, England.
2019 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 46, no 13, p. 7602-7613Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The atmospheric meridional energy transport in the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes is mainly accomplished by planetary and synoptic waves. A decomposition into wave components highlights the strong seasonal dependence of the transport, with both the total transport and the contributions from planetary and synoptic waves peaking in winter. In both winter and summer months, poleward transport extremes primarily result from a constructive interference between planetary and synoptic motions. The contribution of the mean meridional circulation is close to climatology. Equatorward transport extremes feature a mean meridional equatorward transport in winter, while the planetary and synoptic modes mostly transport energy poleward. In summer, a systematic destructive interference occurs, with planetary modes mostly transporting energy equatorward and synoptic modes again poleward. This underscores that baroclinic conversion dominates regardless of season in the synoptic wave modes, whereas the planetary waves can be either free or forced, depending on the season. Plain Language Summary The atmospheric heat transport from low to high latitudes is the main mechanism through which the climate reequilibrates the latitudinally uneven absorption of solar radiation. The atmospheric transport is fueled by instabilities driven by the presence of temperature differences between low and high latitudes and acts in such a way to reduce such gradient. This is one of the main stabilizing mechanisms of the climate system. In this work, we investigate how motions of different spatial scales contribute to atmospheric heat transports in the Northern Hemisphere. We discover that the relative importance of synoptic and planetary scale atmospheric motions is different in summer and winter. Our analysis delves into the analysis of events associated with extreme heat transport toward high latitudes, where we see a compensating mechanism between synoptic and planetary atmospheric motions. We further study days characterized by very large and very small (or even negative) heat transport toward the high latitudes. These "extreme events" are driven by complex interactions between the different scales. Our results are relevant for elucidating basic dynamical and thermodynamical properties of the atmosphere and can be used to benchmark the performance of climate models.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION , 2019. Vol. 46, no 13, p. 7602-7613
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391942DOI: 10.1029/2019GL082105ISI: 000476960100061OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-391942DiVA, id: diva2:1346959
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-03724EU, Horizon 2020, 727852The Research Council of Norway, 280727Available from: 2019-08-29 Created: 2019-08-29 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Messori, Gabriele

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