Fundamental mechanisms of the growth and decay of the PNA teleconnection pattern

Steven B. Feldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


This investigation performs diagnostic analyses on NCEP/NCAR re-analysis data, and also does forced, nonlinear, barotropic model calculations to examine the dynamical mechanisms associated with the growth and decay of the Pacific/North American teleconnection pattern (PNA). The diagnostic calculations include projection and composite analyses of each term in the stream-function-tendency equation. The results of the diagnostic analyses and model calculations reveal a PNA life cycle that is complete within approximately 2 weeks and is dominated by linear processes. The growth of the two upstream PNA anomaly centres is found to be by barotropic conversion from the zonally asymmetric climatological flow, and the two downstream PNA anomaly centres by linear dispersion. The PNA anomaly growth eventually ceases because of changes in the spatial structure of the anomaly. An analysis of the role of Ekman pumping is performed with a very simple model. The results, although qualitative, suggest that the decay of the PNA may be through Ekman pumping. An examination of the role of transient eddy vorticity fluxes indicates that they play an important role during some stages of the PNA life cycle. Lastly, the model calculations also reveal a crucial role played by the divergence term in maintaining the PNA anomaly in a quasi-fixed position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-796
Number of pages22
JournalQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Issue number581
StatePublished - Apr 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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