Distinct North American Cooling Signatures Following the Zonally Symmetric and Asymmetric Modes of Winter Stratospheric Variability

Xiuyuan Ding, Gang Chen, Lantao Sun, Pengfei Zhang

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8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper compares surface signatures of the zonally symmetric and asymmetric modes of stratospheric variability, which describe the strength of the polar vortex and a planetary wave-1 pattern, respectively. Unlike a weak polar vortex followed by negative Arctic Oscillation–like anomalies, strong stratospheric wave activity features a polar vortex displacement with a deep planetary wave-1 structure, resulting in positive North Atlantic Oscillation–like North American cooling in about 10 days. Moreover, the linkage between the stratosphere and surface is examined in two reanalyzes and four models of different configurations, which show more robust North American cooling following the displacement of the polar vortex due to strong stratospheric wave activity than the zonally symmetric weakening of the polar vortex. This suggests strong stratospheric wave activity acts as a better predictor for cold spells in the northern U.S. and Canada compared with a weak polar vortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL096076
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 28 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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