Why there is no need for the Polar Vortex to break in order to have a wobbling Jet Stream and polar weather? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD)
(Citation. Diego Fdez-Sevilla, Why there is no need for the Polar Vortex to break in order to have a wobbling Jet Stream and polar weather?. https://diegofdezsevilla.wordpress.com and DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2500.0488 2015-04-20 T 12:06:18 UTC)
The Winter of last year 2013/2014 was characterised by the meteorological phenomena of having the North Polar Vortex broken. Most extreme climatic events were associated to this phenomena but, is it necessary to have the Polar Vortex broken to observe such climatic events as those observed last winter?
Well, last year’s winter 2013/14, the mayor impact associated between the break of the Polar Vortex and the weather conditions was the effect of such event in the Polar Jet Stream. However, at this part of the year, with a Polar Vortex in one piece and not even in the Winter of 2014/2015 yet, we can see already a wobbly Jet Stream already broken and wobbling as much as we saw last year with the Polar Vortex broken.
Winter 2013/14. Conditions for the Polar Vortex and Jet Stream.
Fall (Oct-Nov) 2014. Conditions for the Polar Vortex and Jet Stream.
Based on previous images, we can only assume that there is no need to wait to see a broken Polar Vortex in order to have profound disruption in the Jet Stream circulation. The question still remains, so what is that it makes so wobbly the atmospheric current defining the area of influence from Polar circulation, so called Polar Jet Stream?
One situation has taken my attention about the Wind conditions at Polar Vortex level (10 hPa) between the Equator and the North Pole. From the 17Oct to 13Nov 2014 the strength and area of influence covered by strong winds in the Equator shows to decrease, meanwhile both, intensity and area of influence, increase in the North Pole. This situation keeps happening now 20 Nov 2014. Is this linked with the state of the Jet Stream?
Furthermore, there are “pockets of air” in northern latitudes at 250 hPa with just 10C degrees Temperature difference compared with the Equator.
This “pockets” of air are getting incorporated more frequently in polar latitudes as well as masses of cold air are getting introduced in sub-polar circulation creating “pockets of weather” wherever they go.
The observed atmospheric circulation at 250 hPa and at 10hPa contributes to support my theory of being the consequence of having a decrease in the differential gradient of energy dictating atmospheric circulation due to a broader distribution of energy in altitude and latitude carried by an increasing amount of atmospheric GHGs and water vapour.
The first law of thermodynamics points to that Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. Therefore energy can be stored (e.g. Biochemically through photosynthesis into carbon based fuels), transformed (e.g. from chemical to kinetic like the explosion of dynamite) and transferred (e.g. from kinetic energy carried by the wind triggered by adiabatic processes to mechanical energy moving a turbine in a windmill).
Our atmosphere carries energy in different forms:
- Thermal or heat energy in GHGs,
- Kinetic energy being carried in the motion of air as a result of adiabatic processes,
- Latent heat stored by water when evaporates in its form of gaseous state or vapour and release when changes from gaseous state to solid, and,
- Potential energy contained by the mass of atmospheric water in its solid phase, snow and ice, or liquid, drops contained in clouds and rainfall.
The second law of thermodynamics points to that adding energy into an isolated thermodynamic system, like our atmosphere, would induce increases in entropy as a consequence of dissipation of energy and to dispersal of matter and energy.
The state of maximum entropy of the atmosphere would be both a uniform temperature and a uniform pressure worldwide. Clearly that is not the arrangement that we see, the atmosphere is much more complex than that. There is a systematic decrease in temperature as we move away from the equator towards the poles, and superimposed on that a complex and ever changing pattern of weather systems, with storms, high pressure regions, low pressure regions, pressure gradients, gales, etc., etc. All of these represent a high degree of order (a decrease in entropy) when compared to the uniform condition.
A constant introduction of GHGs and Water vapour in the atmosphere would induce an increase in different forms of energy. An increase in heat stored by GHGs would increase temperature, an increase of water vapour would increase rain fall and, an increase in heat from GHGs and latent heat from water vapour would induce stronger winds in adiabatic processes. All this energy will start to be accumulated close to the source, getting dissipated firstly by local atmospheric circulation. Such scenario could be comparable with the “heat urban effect”. Similarly, the accumulation and dissipation of those forms of energy would generate climatic events near the source, the troposphere. (more discussion in previous post Looking at the influence of continentality in atmospheric circulation. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
Increases in atmospheric CO2 have being claimed to store energy in the form of heat raising the temperature of the atmosphere. Accordingly, such development would induce the atmosphere to expand allowing more water vapour to be contained. CO2 storing heat and water vapour carrying latent heat and molecular mass add altogether energy in different forms which, in turn, fuel adiabatic processes, weather events and atmospheric circulation.
When considering global circulation, there are patterns of circulation which are built upon strong differential gradients of energy. Warm humid air from tropical or sub-polar regions getting in contact with cold dry air from Polar regions, under the Coriolis effect triggered by the rotation of the Earth, create a current in form of a Jet around the Pole (Lat. 60N) moving from West to East in the North Hemisphere, being called The Polar Jet Stream.
In the first instance, it could be assumed that increasing heat and water vapour contained between the Equator and sub-polar regions would increase the differential gradient of energy between sub-polar and polar atmospheric circulation, increasing the strength of the Jet Stream. That would keep concentrated and isolated cold masses of air from sub-polar circulation. Accordingly, the difference between atmospheric temperature in the Pole and in the Equator would be high and increase with more GHGs.
However, following the second law of thermodynamics, the close contact and persistence of such area of contact would induce in time, an increase in the percentage of air getting exchanged from both atmospheric areas. That scenario would develop a decrease in the difference between Polar and Equatorial temperatures. Situation which can be already observed in the records available.
Here I hypothesise that it can be considered that the volume of the atmospheric system accommodating increasing conc. of GHGs and water vapour has expanded from sub-polar regions into Polar Circulation. Consequently, following the second law of thermodynamics, an added space for those gasses to expand would allow for the atmosphere containing GHGs and water vapour to retain more heat with no increase in atmospheric temperature. Which it could explain why under increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 there has been a so called “pause” in global warming.
These are the records on CO2:
An ultra-high-resolution NASA computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe. Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources. The simulation also illustrates differences in carbon dioxide levels in the northern and southern hemispheres and distinct swings in global carbon dioxide concentrations as the growth cycle of plants and trees changes with the seasons.
The lifespan of a cyclonic event depends on the availability of energy fuelling it and the grade in the differential gradient of energy with its surroundings that keeps its energy from dissipating.
Increasing amounts of atmospheric CO2 and Water vapour would incorporate forms of energy not only into cyclonic events, increasing its strength, but also it would increment the energy in the atmosphere around it. A scenario in which the difference between the energy carried by an atmospheric event and the atmosphere surrounding it is high, the energy in a cyclonic event would dissipate faster, losing strength and resilience. However, we can see in the North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, cyclonic and anticyclonic events building what it has being called “blocking patterns”, growing from near surface level (1000 hPa) to levels as high as the Jet Stream (250 hPa).
For all of these reasons, I see a reasonable link between the recent observed disturbance in the atmospheric circulation of the Jet Stream, without the Polar Vortex being broken yet, and the possibility of being the result of a decrease in the differential gradients of energy between cyclonic events and atmospheric barriers like the Jet Stream. Under such scenario, the Jet stream loses stability becoming wobbly, allowing more frequent exchange of masses of air between both cold and warm sides. (for more discussion in this topic see previous post (Updated 19_Nov) A Groundhog forecast on climate at the North Hemisphere. New theory proposal to assess possible changes in Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla).
Also, it has been suggested that the decrease of ice cover in the North pole is what induces the wobbling of the Polar Jet Stream. However, the lack of ice in the Artic sea could also be the result of having a broader distribution on CO2 in atmospheric circulation since the small size of the Artic sea and its proximity to continental sources of CO2 would make it more sensitive to:
- Increases in salinity due to an increase in temperature. Consequently, this will lower the freezing point of the water, with the effect of making more difficult to form ice.
- Acidity, CO2 concentration. When carbon dioxide is added to water, it lowers the freezing point of the water. This means that water containing CO2 needs to be colder than 32°F (0ºC) to freeze.
Implications in the State of the Climate
Based on the present atmospheric circulation, it seems that there is an agreement between present atmospheric circulation and all the clues gathered in a previous post addressing the possible configuration of the Polar vortex and Jet Stream for this winter. The only missing link is that there is no need to have a broken Polar Vortex in order to have a wobbly Jet Stream and all the weather events associated.
Based on previous comments presented here and in previous posts, I purpose for discussion a theory to explain the behaviour of the Polar Vortex, Jet Stream and Atmospheric Circulation at global scale. A decrease in the differential gradient of energy in altitude would allow cyclonic and anticyclonic events to not dissipate their energy easily, and consequently to grow in altitude and resilience reducing the differential gradient of energy between Polar and Sub-polar circulation, weakening the steadiness of the Jet Stream to keep unbroken.
If my intuition is right, based on what I shared in the other post giving “A New theory proposal to assess possible changes in Atmospheric Circulation.“, it will become more frequent to see polar masses of air getting introduced in lower latitudes as part of having a low differential gradient of energy between the Jet Stream and cyclonic (L and H) events, allowing frequent transition of masses of air getting from both sides of the Jet Stream.
Actually, even considering that such exchange it has been always there throughout past Winters, if my theory is right, this pattern of unsteady Jet Stream and masses of air crossing through would start earlier in Autumn and resume closer to summer.
The transition from Summer to Winter and from Winter to Summer will be a transition between “more frequent exchange of masses of air” to “less frequent”. Instead of having a constant gradual change in atmospheric conditions, we will have pockets of air moving across the Jet stream defining the weather wherever they move.
(I believe that the hypothesis that I present here can help to understand present and possible future scenarios in atmospheric circulation. However, this is an assessment based on observation which needs to be validated throughout open discussion and data gathering.
I would like to not only be the one proposing this theory but also be involved in this line of research. Since I am in a transition period looking for a position in research, I publicly ask for institutional and economic support to find the means to contribute evaluating the accuracy of this theory.
(If you feel like sharing this post I would appreciate to have a reference about the place or platform, by private or public message, in order for me to have the opportunity to join the debate and be aware of the repercussion which might generate d.fdezsevilla(at)gmail.com)
(March 2016) Since October 2013 I have been studying the behaviour of the Polar Jet Stream and the weather events associated as well as the implications derived into atmospheric dynamics and environmental synergies.
Many of the atmospheric configurations and weather and climate events we see these days are very similar with the progression followed since 2013. Please take a look at posts addressing those events from previous publications in this blog or look at the categories in the top menu. Also at research-gate. Feedback is always welcomed either in this blog or at my email (d.fdezsevilla(at)gmail.com). All my work is part of my Intellectual Portfolio, registered under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, WordPress.com license and it is being implemented at my profile in researchgate. I will fight for its recognition in case of misuse.
- New theory proposal to assess possible changes in Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on October 21, 2014.
- Why there is no need for the Polar Vortex to break in order to have a wobbling Jet Stream and polar weather? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on November 14, 2014.
- Gathering data to make visible the invisible (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on December 22, 2014.
- State of the Polar Vortex. Broken? From 29 Nov 2014 to 5th Jan 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla). Posted on November 29, 2014.
- Probability in the atmospheric circulation dictating the Weather (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on January 15, 2015.
- Meteorological Outlook Feb 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on February 7, 2015.
- Revisiting the theory of “Facing a decrease in the differential gradients of energy in atmospheric circulation” by Diego Fdez-Sevilla. Posted on February 10, 2015.
- Matching Features Between Land Surface and Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 23, 2015
- Drops of Weather. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)March 7, 2015
- Steering climate´s course (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)March 27, 2015
- Climate. Looking at the forest for the trees (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 9, 2015
- Matching Features Between Land Surface and Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 23, 2015
- Domesticating Nature. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 7, 2015
- A roller-coaster of temperatures in South Europe. Spain (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) May 14, 2015
- Talking about climate (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 12, 2015
- News from an Ecosystem (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 20, 2015
- In climate it is becoming Less probable to not have a High probability. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 29, 2015
- Drinking from the source (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 5, 2015
- Communication takes more than just publishing thoughts. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 9, 2015
- Extreme climatic events, implications for projections of species distributions and ecosystem structure (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 18, 2015
- The scope of Environmental Science and scientific thought. From Thought-driven to Data-driven, from Critical Thinking to Data Management. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)June 26, 2015
- Atmospheric Circulation and Climate Drift. Are we there yet? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 2, 2015
- Lateral thinking. From Micro to Macro (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 4, 2015
- Something for the curious minds. Climate and Streamlines (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 17, 2015
- Solar Activity and Human Activity, Settling Their Environmental Liability. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)July 24, 2015
- Atmospheric composition and thermal conductivity? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)August 6, 2015
- Latitudinal barriers and typhoons (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)August 13, 2015
- The Earth is Ticking (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)August 20, 2015
- What if, the relevant bit lies hidden on identifying the pattern behind similarities instead of trying to match anomalies? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)September 3, 2015
- A Climate “Between Waters” (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla).September 8, 2015
- Sensing Atmospheric Dynamics (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)September 22, 2015
- InFormAtion. The “Act” of “Giving Form” to “Knowledge” (by Diego fdez-Sevilla)September 30, 2015
- Arctic Intake of Water Vapour (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)October 7, 2015
- SST Anomalies and Heat Waves. Are They Not All Just Heat Displacements? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)October 16, 2015
- Discussing Climatic Teleconnections. Follow Up On My Previous Research (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)October 21, 2015
- Follow-up on Arctic circulation 30 Oct 2015 ( by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) October 30, 2015
- There is Ice or Frost In Antarctica? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 5, 2015
- Starts Raining Drops of Winter at Mid-Latitudes. The new Autumn? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 10, 2015
- Press release. Ask NASA (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 12, 2015
- Following the Behaviour of the Jet Stream (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 19, 2015
- What Is Wrong With The Concept “Bio”? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) November 26, 2015
- Energy. Looking For Sources of Something We Waste. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 3, 2015
- SOILS. The Skeleton Holding The Muscle On Our Ecosystems (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 9, 2015
- Could It Be El Niño The New “Wolf” Coming? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 11, 2015
- Climate and weather December 2015. Another Polar Vortex another Heat Wave? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 18, 2015
- New insides on old concepts (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) December 23, 2015
- Atmospheric Dynamics And Shapes (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) January 13, 2016
- European weather. Old News, Same News? by Diego Fdez-Sevilla January 15, 2016
- Observational events on atmospheric dynamics. A follow-up assessment over the theory proposed over Energetic gradients by Diego Fdez-Sevilla. January 29, 2016
- North American Weather. Old News, Same News? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) January 20, 2016
- Observed Atmospheric Dynamics. A follow-up assessment over the theory proposed on Energetic gradients by Diego Fdez-Sevilla. January 29, 2016
- (updated 11-18 Feb2016) Polar Vortex, Old News, Same News? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) February 4, 2016
- Forecasting Past Events. Snow Coming to Spain (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) February 12, 2016
- Do You Believe in the Value of Your Work? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) February 23, 2016
- Forecasts For Ecosystems (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) February 25, 2016
- Seasonality Spring 2016. Continuous follow-up on my previous research assessing atmospheric dynamics. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) March 3, 2016
- Tangled in Words. Atmospheric Dynamics, Stefan Boltzmann Calculations and Energy Balance (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) March 10, 2016
- Pacific atmospheric dynamics with and without a positive ENSO (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) March 22, 2016
- Plant growth, CO2, Soil and Nutrients. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) March 31, 2016