A comparative study of wave forcing derived from the ERA-40 and ERA-interim reanalysis data sets

The Eliassen–Palm (E-P) flux divergences derived from ERA-40 and ERA-Interim show significant differences during northern winter. The discrepancies are marked by vertically alternating positive and negative anomalies at high latitudes and are manifested via a difference in the climatology. The magnitude of the discrepancies can be greater than the interannual variability in certain regions. These wave forcing discrepancies are only partially linked to differences in the residual circulation but they are evidently related to the static stability in the affected regions. Thus, the main cause of the discrepancies is most likely an imbalance of radiative heating. Two significant sudden changes are detected in the differences between the eddy heat fluxes derived from the two reanalyses. One of the changes may be linked to the bias corrections applied to the infrared radiances from the NOAA-12 High-Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder in ERA-40, which is known to be contaminated by volcanic aerosol from the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The other change may be due in part to the use of uncorrected radiances from the NOAA-15 Advanced Microwave Sounding Units by ERA-Interim since 1998. These sudden changes have the potential to alter the wave forcing trends in the affected reanalysis, suggesting that extreme care is needed when one comes to extract trends from the highly derived wave forcing quantities.


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Authors: Lu, Hua ORCIDORCID record for Hua Lu, Bracegirdle, Thomas J. ORCIDORCID record for Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Phillips, Tony ORCIDORCID record for Tony Phillips, Turner, John ORCIDORCID record for John Turner

On this site: Hua Lu, John Turner, Thomas Bracegirdle, Tony Phillips
1 March, 2015
Journal of Climate / 28
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