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A global blended tropopause based on ERA data, Part I: Climatology

Wilcox, L. ORCID:, Hoskins, B. and Shine, K. ORCID: (2012) A global blended tropopause based on ERA data, Part I: Climatology. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 138 (664). pp. 561-575. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.951


A new tropopause definition, based on a flow-dependent blending of the traditional thermal tropopause with one based on potential vorticity, has been developed. The benefits of such a blending algorithm are most apparent in regions with synoptic scale fluctuations between tropical and extratropical airmasses. The properties of the local airmass determine the relative contributions to the location of the blended tropopause, rather than this being determined by a specified function of latitude. Global climatologies of tropopause height, temperature, potential temperature and zonal wind, based on European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) reanalysis (ERA) ERA-Interim data, are presented for the period 1989-2007. Features of the seasonal-mean tropopause are discussed on a global scale, alongside a focus on selected monthly climatologies for the two high latitude regions and the tropical belt. The height differences between climatologies based on ERA-Interim and ERA-40 data are also presented. Key spatial and temporal features seen in earlier climatologies, based mainly on the World Meteorological Organization thermal tropopause definition, are reproduced with the new definition. Tropopause temperatures are consistent with those from earlier climatologies, despite some differences in height in the extratropics.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:25077
Uncontrolled Keywords:ERA-Interim;high latitudes;Tropics;ENSO
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


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