(updated 11-18 Feb2016) Polar Vortex, Old News, Same News? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.)


(updated 11-18 Feb2016) Polar Vortex, Old News, Same News? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.)

(I have updated this entrance today date 11th Feb 2016 with the analyses on stratospheric Temp anomalies from NOAA so it covers the whole event, from when it was published as just a relevant forecast, to the posterior recording from data analysis. I believe that instead of looking at “The Influence of Arctic Amplification on Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Circulation” it should be considered the other way around. Understanding The Influence of Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Circulation on Arctic circulation might be the key to many questions.)

In previous publications in this blog I have looked into the atmospheric dynamics being observed for the winter 2015/16 discussing their significance addressing the patterns associated following the line of research presented in this blog.

I have discussed the similarity for the weather events seen over Europe on December 2015, the “Juno” like event seen on Jan 2016 seen over the East of North America, the circulation over the Pacific, the erratic behaviour of the Polar Jet stream and the increasingly frequent reach of warm temperatures at higher latitudes.

Throughout my line of research I suggest that there is one approach which is able to unify all events in a single principle :

The atmosphere might have reached a tipping point in absorbing energy at mid latitudes and the constant contact of warm masses of air with those from polar latitudes has weared off the strength of the Polar Jet Stream.

Such circumstance has allowed the atmosphere to spread the energy carried by water vapour from mid latitudes into northern latitudes (Arctic latitudes), being able of holding more energy than before since it is not dissipated into their surroundings when moving across latitudes.

This time I am looking at how well the behaviour of the Polar Vortex matches with the principle purposed in this line of research.

In November 2014 I defended that the weak stability of the Polar Jet Stream and a broken Polar vortex would be the consequence of an atmospheric dynamic triggered from the bottom up and not the other way around: 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.

One atmospheric event which I believe follows my interpretations happen with the cold burst over Asia 20th Jan16. From my take, the trigger was from the bottom up due to Strat Sudden Warming generating a sucking effect, like in a vacuum flask (kitasato filtration). Warm air moving up displaced cold air moving down.

temp10hPa anomaly NOAA Diego Fdez-Sevilla

30-day loop of analyzed 10-hPa temperatures and anomalies. Each frame is an eleven-day mean, centered on the date indicated in the title, of 10-hPa temperature and anomalies from the NCEP Climate Data Assimilation System (CDAS). Contour interval for temperatures is 4C, anomalies are indicated by shading. Anomalies are departures from the 1981-2010 daily base period means.

But this event has just brought into light a small portion of what it has to come.

Following the GFS model based on NCEP/NOAA data, the stratospheric circulation at Polar Vortex level is about to receive on the 7th Feb 2016 a mass of air with positive centigrade values in temperature.

850 hPa Temp Jan2016 Diego Fdez_Sevilla 5_5_25cs 10hPa Temp Diego Fdez-Sevilla

Arctic warming Stratosphere by Diego Fdez-Sevilla

GFS NCEP/NOAA 7th Feb 2016. Top left to right: 10hPa temp, Wind, Wind&Temp. Bottom left to right: 850hPa Temp, MSLP and 250 hPa Jet Stream wind conditions.

Polar Vortex ECMWF Feb 16 by Diego Fdez-Sevilla

10 hPa geopotential(dam’) and temperature(°C) over the northern hemisphere from 30°N – 90°N 96 hour forecast from February 04 2016 12 UTC. The unit of the geopotential is 10 geopotential standard meter (10 m’ = 1 dam’ = 98.0665 m2 s-2 = 98.0665 J kg-1). Data: ECMWF via DWD. Link

Polar Vortex NOAA Feb 16 by Diego Fdez-Sevilla

NCEP Global Forecast System Model Analyses and Forecasts. http://www.noaa.gov (here)

(Update 5Feb 2016, I have added the forecast from ECMWF and NOAA sites just to offer two different sources for the same assessment. Positive temperatures are “specifically” expected at 10 hPa by the ECMWF. Surprisingly, NOAA’s T maps have a resolution high enough to delimitate differences of 5 degrees Celsious just untill -15C. Then the area inside -15C has no definition of gradients increasing in temp. )

Polar vortex 4th Jan 2016 ECMWF NOAA Diego Fdez-Sevilla

Enlarge image by clicking on it .

The repercussion from this circulation in altitude comes in the form of cold temperatures at tropospheric level:

GFS NHT 2m from 2016-02-05 GFS NH T2 anom_2016-02-05 Diego Fdez-Sevilla

In the chart with the anomalies in temp at 2m (top left) it can be seen that the 5th and 6th of Feb there is a mass of warm air moving from west Europe towards Asia which dissipates at the same time that it appears as a warm mass of air at stratospheric level the 7th of Feb 2016.

The formation of the warm mass of air forming over Europe and moving into Asia can be better appreciated when looking at the previous conditions in order to identify the origin and magnitude of the warming dynamic.

GFS T2 anom from 2016-02-01 Diego Fdez-Sevilla

When looking at this behaviour in atmospheric circulation in altitude it has to be kept in mind that masses of air can only contain heat thanks to their molecular composition. Such properties for the mass of air, and for the air surrounding it, define how it is possible to measure such temperatures in an altitude where it is supposed that the majority of the energy should have already been dissipated.

One basic assertion started my hypothetical approach into analysing climatic events associated with atmospheric dynamics:

“Warm masses of air are getting higher in latitude and altitude.”

Every place, parameter or behaviour in the atmosphere where I look, it seems to confirm that such interpretation of the events follows a coherent line of thinking. Please, look at the previous posts published in this blog and share your thoughts if you see something saying otherwise.

See also this video from the latest post summarising some concepts:

From forecast to observation. (updated 11th Feb 2016)

Until here we are applying forecast models to see what is going to happen in the next days. Now it is time to wait and watch closely.

The following image shows the Temp anomalies recorded by NOAA in altitude for the zonal Mean lat 60-90 until day 33 of 2016:

Day 33 time_pres_TEMP_ANOM_JFM_NH_2016

Accordingly with the forecast discussed in the present publication, a red area over 10hPa should appear in the following days.

(Updated 11 Feb 2016) As expected, such red area is represented in the zonal mean time series of Temperature anomalies from the NCEP GDAS and CPC temperature analyses.

time_pres_TEMP_ANOM_JFM_NH_2016

Follow source to see new updates: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/

(update 18 Feb16) Direct link to chart source. Ncep Noaa. (Link)

(update 18 Feb16) This time series shows the 10 day averaged eddy heat flux towards the North Pole at 100mb. Strong positive fluxes indicate poleward flux of heat via eddies. Multiple stong poleward episodes may result in a Sudden Stratospheric Warming or a smaller/warmer polar vortex. Relatively small flux amplitudes will result in a more stable/colder polar vortex and will extend the winter circulation further into the Spring. (link)

Updated 11 Feb 2016. The following animation shows Temp anomalies recorded at 10 hPa. NOAA:

temp anomaly 10hPa NOAA Diego Fez-Sevilla

30-day loop of analyzed 10-hPa temperatures and anomalies. Each frame is an eleven-day mean, centered on the date indicated in the title, of 10-hPa temperature and anomalies from the NCEP Climate Data Assimilation System (CDAS). Contour interval for temperatures is 4C, anomalies are indicated by shading. Anomalies are departures from the 1981-2010 daily base period means.

Polar Vortex NH 11 Feb 2016 NOAA Diego Fdez-Sevilla

The daily geopotential height anomalies at 17 pressure levels are shown for the previous 120 days as indicated, and they are normalized by standard deviation using 1979-2000 base period. The anomalies are calculated by subtracting 1979-2000 daily climatology, and then averaged over the polar cap poleward of 65°N. The blue (red) colors represent a strong (weak) polar vortex. The black solid lines show the zero anomalies.

How can we find related events to help us understand this atmospheric dynamic?

Liquid motion lamps (which most people know as “lava lamps”) have been around for decades. The theory behind a liquid motion lamp goes something like this:

In the lamp you have two liquids which are:

  • Very close in density
  • Insoluble in one another

The heavier liquid lies at the bottom due to its higher density so there is a stratification defined by the density of the liquids.

When you apply heat to the bottom of the mixture (the heat usually comes from a light bulb) the heavier liquid absorbs the heat, and as it heats up, it expands. As it expands it becomes less dense. Because the liquids have very similar densities, the formerly heavier liquid is suddenly lighter than the other liquid on top, so it rises (like a hot air balloon). As it rises, it leaves behind a volume of space empty which is filled up by the nearest colder/more dense air. Once at the top of the column it cools, becoming denser and therefore heavier, so it sinks. At the same time, the new liquid occupying the bottom of the column is warmed up until its density is so low that it start raising giving continuity to this motion.

This all happens in slow motion because heat absorption and dissipation are fairly slow processes, and the density changes we are discussing here are very slight.

Lava lamp

Last comment

I believe that instead of looking at “The Influence of Arctic Amplification on Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Circulation” it should be considered the other way around. Understanding The Influence of Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Circulation on Arctic circulation might be the key to understand many questions on atmospheric dynamics.

By increasing the mixing ratio and turbulent flow in the stratigraphic column of air masses forming our atmosphere we will see an increase in temperature at the Arctic as well as a more predominate and frequent formation of weather systems at tropospheric level at higher latitudes.

Every mass of air moving upwards in altitude and latitude will drag behind a colder mass of air to occupy the space left. Such dynamic will ultimately result in generating low pressures being driven by the strongest winds created by thermal contrasts.

All those symptoms could actually be related with the activity being seen across the Pacific, from equatorial West Pacific towards Arctic East Atlantic. And warm masses of air raising from West Europe all way up to the Arctic over the Bering Strait.

—xxx—

PerspectiveSince 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 publications 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.

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About Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.

Citing This Site "Title", published online "Month"+"Year", retrieved on "Month""Day", "Year" from http://www.diegofdezsevilla.wordpress.com. By Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD. More guidance on citing this web as a source can be found at NASA webpage: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/bibliography/citations#! DOIs can be generated on demand by request by email: d.fdezsevilla(at)gmail.com for those publications missing at the ResearchGate profile vinculated with this project. Author´s profile: Bachelor in General Biology, Masters degree "Licenciado" in Environmental Sciences (2001, Spain). PhD in Aerobiology (2007, UK). Lived, acquired training and worked in Spain, UK, Germany and Poland. I have shared the outcome from my previous work as scientific speaker in events held in those countries as well as in Switzerland and Finland. After couple of years performing research and working in institutions linked with environmental research and management, I find myself in a period of transition searching for a new position or funding to support my research. In the present competitive scenario, instead of just moving my cv and wait for my next opportunity to arrive, I have decided to invest also my energy and time in opening my own line of research showing what I am capable of. The value of the data and the original nature of the research presented in this blog has proved to be worthy of consideration by the scientific community as well as for publication in scientific journals. However, without a position as member of an institution, it becomes very challenging to be published. I hope that this handicap do not overshadow the value of my work and the intellectual rights represented by the license of attribution attached are respected and considered by the scientist involved in this line of research. Any comment and feedback aimed to be constructive is welcome. In this blog I publish pieces of research focused on addressing relevant environmental questions. Furthermore, I try to break the barrier that academic publications very often offer isolating scientific findings from the general public. In that way I address those topics which I am familiar with, thanks to my training in environmental research, making them available throughout my posts. (see "Framework and Timeline" for a complete index). At this moment, 2017, I am living in Spain with no affiliation attachments. Free to relocate geographically worldwide. If you feel that I could be a contribution to your institution, team and projects don´t hesitate in contact me at d.fdezsevilla (at) gmail.com or consult my profile at LinkedIn, ResearchGate and Academia.edu. Also, I'd appreciate information about any opportunity that you might know and believe it could match with my aptitudes. The conclusions and ideas expressed in each post as part of my own creativity are part of my Intellectual Portfolio and are protected by Intellectual Property Laws. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial conditions. In citing my work from this website, be sure to include the date of access. (c)Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD, 2017. Filling in or Finding Out the gaps around. Publication accessed 20YY-MM-DD at http://www.diegofdezsevilla.wordpress.com/
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