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Other research product . 2019

On the representation of major stratospheric warmings in reanalyses

Ayarzagüena, Blanca; Palmeiro, Froila M.; Barriopedro, David; Calvo, Natalia; Langematz, Ulrike; Shibata, Kiyotaka;
Open Access
Published: 26 Jul 2019

Major sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) represent one of the most abrupt phenomena of the boreal wintertime stratospheric variability, and constitute the clearest example of coupling between the stratosphere and the troposphere. A good representation of SSWs in climate models is required to reduce their biases and uncertainties in future projections of stratospheric variability. The ability of models to reproduce these phenomena is usually assessed with just one reanalysis. However, the number of reanalyses has increased in the last decade and their own biases may affect the model evaluation. Here we compare the representation of the main aspects of SSWs across reanalyses. The examination of their main characteristics in the pre- and post-satellite periods reveals that reanalyses behave very similarly in both periods. However, discrepancies are larger in the pre-satellite period compared to afterwards, particularly for the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis. All datasets reproduce similarly the specific features of wavenumber-1 and wavenumber-2 SSWs. A good agreement among reanalyses is also found for triggering mechanisms, tropospheric precursors, and surface response. In particular, differences in blocking precursor activity of SSWs across reanalyses are much smaller than between blocking definitions.

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Funded by
Stratospheric and upper tropospheric processes for better climate predictions
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 603557
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | ENV