6 research outputs found

    Similarity and variability of blocked weather-regime dynamics in the Atlantic–European region

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    Weather regimes govern an important part of the sub-seasonal variability of the mid-latitude circulation. Due to their role in weather extremes and atmospheric predictability, regimes that feature a blocking anticyclone are of particular interest. This study investigates the dynamics of these “blocked” regimes in the North Atlantic–European region from a year-round perspective. For a comprehensive diagnostic, wave activity concepts and a piecewise potential vorticity (PV) tendency framework are combined. The latter essentially quantifies the well-established PV perspective of mid-latitude dynamics. The four blocked regimes (namely Atlantic ridge, European blocking, Scandinavian blocking, and Greenland blocking) during the 1979–2021 period of ERA5 reanalysis are considered. Wave activity characteristics exhibit distinct differences between blocked regimes. After regime onset, Greenland blocking is associated with a suppression of wave activity flux, whereas Atlantic ridge and European blocking are associated with a northward deflection of the flux without a clear net change. During onset, the envelope of Rossby wave activity retracts upstream for Greenland blocking, whereas the envelope extends downstream for Atlantic ridge and European blocking. Scandinavian blocking exhibits intermediate wave activity characteristics. From the perspective of piecewise PV tendencies projected onto the respective regime pattern, the dynamics that govern regime onset exhibit a large degree of similarity: linear Rossby wave dynamics and nonlinear eddy PV fluxes dominate and are of approximately equal relative importance, whereas baroclinic coupling and divergent amplification make minor contributions. Most strikingly, all blocked regimes exhibit very similar (intra-regime) variability: a retrograde and an upstream pathway to regime onset. The retrograde pathway is dominated by nonlinear PV eddy fluxes, whereas the upstream pathway is dominated by linear Rossby wave dynamics. Importantly, there is a large degree of cancellation between the two pathways for some of the mechanisms before regime onset. The physical meaning of a regime-mean perspective before onset can thus be severely limited. Implications of our results for understanding predictability of blocked regimes are discussed. Further discussed are the limitations of projected tendencies in capturing the importance of moist-baroclinic growth, which tends to occur in regions where the amplitude of the regime pattern, and thus the projection onto it, is small. Finally, it is stressed that this study investigates the variability of the governing dynamics without prior empirical stratification of data by season or by type of regime transition. It is demonstrated, however, that our dynamics-centered approach does not merely reflect variability that is associated with these factors. The main modes of dynamical variability revealed herein and the large similarity of the blocked regimes in exhibiting this variability are thus significant results.</p

    Towards a holistic understanding of blocked regime dynamics through a combination of complementary diagnostic perspectives

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    Atmospheric blocking describes a situation in which a stationary and persistent anticyclone blocks the eastward propagation of weather systems in the midlatitudes and can lead to extreme weather events. In the North Atlantic–European region, blocking contributes to life cycles of weather regimes which are recurrent, quasi-stationary, and persistent patterns of the large-scale circulation. Despite progress in blocking theory over the last decades, we are still lacking a comprehensive, process-based conceptual understanding of blocking dynamics. Here we combine three different perspectives on so-called “blocked” weather regimes, namely the commonly used Eulerian and Lagrangian perspectives, complemented by a novel quasi-Lagrangian perspective. Within the established framework of midlatitude potential vorticity (PV) thinking, the joint consideration of the three perspectives enables a comprehensive picture of the dynamics and quantifies the importance of dry and moist processes during a blocked weather regime life cycle. We apply the diagnostic framework to a European blocking weather regime life cycle in March 2016, which was associated with a severe forecast bust in the North Atlantic–European region. The three perspectives highlight the importance of moist processes during the onset or maintenance of the blocked weather regime. The Eulerian perspective, which identifies the processes contributing to the onset and decay of the regime, indicates that dry quasi-barotropic wave dynamics and especially the eastward advection of PV anomalies (PVAs) into the North Atlantic–European region dominate the onset of the regime pattern. By tracking the negative upper-tropospheric PVA associated with the “block”, the quasi-Lagrangian view reveals, for the same period, abrupt amplification due to moist processes. This is in good agreement with the Lagrangian perspective indicating that a large fraction of air parcels that end up in the negative PVA experience diabatic heating. Overall, the study shows that important contributions to the development take place outside of the region in which the blocked weather regime eventually establishes, and that a joint consideration of different perspectives is important in order not to miss processes, in particular moist-baroclinic dynamics, contributing to a blocked regime life cycle.</p

    Measuring multiple impacts of low-carbon energy options in a green economy context

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    The economic assessment of low-carbon energy options is the primary step towards the design of policy portfolios to foster the green energy economy. However, today these assessments often fall short of including important determinants of the overall cost-benefit balance of such options by not including indirect costs and benefits, even though these can be game-changing. This is often due to the lack of adequate methodologies. The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive account of the key methodological challenges to the assessment of the multiple impacts of energy options, and an initial menu of potential solutions to address these challenges. The paper first provides evidence for the importance of the multiple impacts of energy actions in the assessment of low-carbon options. The paper identifies a few key challenges to the evaluation of the co-impacts of low-carbon options and demonstrates that these are more complex for co-impacts than for the direct ones. Such challenges include several layers of additionality, high context dependency, and accounting for distributional effects. The paper continues by identifying the key challenges to the aggregation of multiple impacts including the risks of overcounting while taking into account the multitude of interactions among the various co-impacts. The paper proposes an analytical framework that can help address these and frame a systematic assessment of the multiple impacts

    Enhanced tropospheric wave forcing of two anticyclones in the prephase of the January 2009 major stratospheric sudden warming event

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    Tropospheric forcing of planetary wavenumber 2 is examined in the prephase of the major stratospheric sudden warming event in January 2009 (MSSW 2009). Because of a huge increase in Eliassen–Palm fluxes induced mainly by wavenumber 2, easterly angular momentum is transported into the Arctic stratosphere, deposited, and then decelerates the polar night jet. In agreement with earlier studies, the results reveal that the strongest eddy heat fluxes, associated with wavenumber 2, occur at 100 hPa during the prephase of MSSW 2009 in ERA-Interim. In addition, moderate conditions of the cold phase of ENSO (La Niña) contribute to the eddy heat flux anomaly. It is shown that enhanced tropospheric wave forcing over Alaska and Scandinavia is caused by tropical processes in two ways. First, in a climatological sense, La Niña contributes to an enhanced anticyclonic flow over both regions. Second, the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) has an indirect influence on the Alaskan ridge by enhancing eddy activity over the North Pacific. This is manifested in an increase in cyclone frequency and associated warm conveyor belt outflow, which contribute to the maintenance and amplification of the Alaskan anticyclone. The Scandinavian ridge is maintained by wave trains emanating from the Alaskan ridge propagating eastward, including an enhanced transport of eddy kinetic energy. The MSSW 2009 is an extraordinary case of how a beneficial phasing of La Niña and MJO conditions together with multiscale interactions enhances tropospheric forcing for wavenumber 2–induced zonal mean eddy heat flux in the lower stratosphere