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Weather and Climate Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2020-2
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2020-2
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 16 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

Atmospheric Blocking: The Impact of Topography in an Idealized General Circulation Model

Veeshan Narinesingh1,2, James F. Booth1,2, Spencer K. Clark3, and Yi Ming4 Veeshan Narinesingh et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, City University of New York – The Graduate Center, New York, New York, 10016, USA
  • 2Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and NOAA-CESSRST, City University of New York – City College, New York, New York, 10031, USA
  • 3Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 08544, USA
  • 4Atmospheric Physics Division, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey, 08540, USA

Abstract. Atmospheric blocking can have important impacts on weather hazards, but the fundamental dynamics of blocking are not yet fully understood. As such, this work investigates the influence of topography on atmospheric blocking in terms of dynamics, spatial frequency, duration and displacement. Using an idealized GCM, an aquaplanet integration, and integrations with topography are analyzed. Block-centered composites show midlatitude aquaplanet blocks exhibit similar wave activity flux behavior to those observed in reality, whereas high-latitude blocks do not. The addition of topography significantly increases blocking and determines distinct regions where blocks are most likely to occur. These regions are found near high-pressure anomalies in the stationary waves and near storm track exit regions. Focusing on block duration, blocks originating near topography are found to last longer than those that are formed without or far from topography but have qualitatively similar evolutions in terms of nearby geopotential height anomalies and wave activity fluxes in composites. Integrations with two mountains have greater amounts of blocking compared to the single mountain case, however, the longitudinal spacing between the mountains is important for how much blocking occurs. Comparison between integrations with longitudinally long and short ocean basins show that more blocking occurs when storm track exits spatially overlap with high-pressure maxima in stationary waves. These results have real-world implications, as they help explain the differences in blocking between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, and the differences between the Pacific and Atlantic regions in the Northern Hemisphere.

Veeshan Narinesingh et al.

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Veeshan Narinesingh et al.

Veeshan Narinesingh et al.

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Latest update: 26 Feb 2020
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Short summary
This work investigates the influence of topography on atmospheric blocking dynamics, spatial frequency, duration and displacement. Using an idealized model, a landless integration, and integrations with topography are analyzed. Topography is found to significantly increases blocking and anchors where blocks most likely occur (i.e just upstream from mountains and near storm track exits). Blocks forced by topography are found to behave similarly to those that are not, but tend to last longer.
This work investigates the influence of topography on atmospheric blocking dynamics, spatial...
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