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Upstream cyclone influence on the predictability of block onsets over the Euro-Atlantic region

Maddison, J. W., Gray, S. L., Martinez-Alvarado, O. and Williams, K. D. (2019) Upstream cyclone influence on the predictability of block onsets over the Euro-Atlantic region. Monthly Weather Review, 147 (4). pp. 1277-1296. ISSN 0027-0644

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-18-0226.1

Abstract/Summary

Atmospheric blocking has been shown to be a phenomenon that models struggle to predict accurately, particularly the onset of a blocked state following a more zonal flow. This struggle is, in part, due to the lack of a complete dynamical theory for block onset and maintenance. Here, we evaluate the impact cyclone representation had on the forecast of block onset in two case studies from the North Atlantic Waveguide and Downstream Impact Experiment field campaign and the 20 most unpredictable block onsets over the Euro-Atlantic region in medium-range forecasts from the ECMWF. The six-day forecast of block onset in the case studies is sensitive to changes in the forecast location and intensity of upstream cyclones (one cyclone for one case and two for the other case) in the days preceding the onset. Ensemble sensitivity analysis reveals that this is often the case in unpredictable block onset cases: a one-standard deviation change in 1000-hPa geopotential height near an upstream cyclone, or 320-K potential vorticity near the tropopause, two or three days prior to block onset is associated with more than a 10% change in block area on the analyzed onset day in 17 of the 20 onset cases. These results imply that improvement in the forecasts of upstream cyclone location and intensity may help improve block onset forecasts.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:81742
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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