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Deterministic models of Southern Hemisphere circulation variability

Byrne, N. (2017) Deterministic models of Southern Hemisphere circulation variability. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

Statistical models of atmospheric variability typically attempt to account for deterministic seasonal variations by constructing a long-term average for each day or month of the year. Year-to-year variability can then be treated as some form of stochastic process about this long-term average. In general, the stochastic processes are assumed to be statistically stationary (invariant under time translation). However, for a non-linear system such as the Earth’s atmosphere, multiple seasonal evolutions may be possible for the same external forcing. In the presence of such a multiplicity of solutions, the identification of a seasonal cycle with a long-term average may not be the optimal procedure. Previous research has suggested that multiple evolutions of the seasonal cycle of the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitude circulation may be possible. The central goal of this thesis is to build on this work and to present evidence for different seasonal evolutions of the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitude circulation. This evidence is initially presented by highlighting a low-frequency peak in an aspect of the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitude circulation that is viewed as a harmonic of the annual cycle (quasi-two year). Statistically stationary models of variability about a long-term average are argued to be unable to account for the presence of this harmonic. Following this, an alternative model of circulation variability is proposed that explicitly references various stages of the seasonal cycle in a deterministic manner. In particular, explicit reference is made to the downward shift and to the final breakdown of the stratospheric polar vortex. A re-interpretation of several previous results in the literature including Southern Annular Mode persistence timescales, Southern Hemisphere mid-latitude climate change and the semi-annual oscillation of the mid-latitude jet is subsequently presented using this alternative perspective.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Shepherd, T.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Meteorology
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:74253

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