Persistent circulation regimes and preferred regime transitions in the North Atlantic

The persistent regime behavior of the eddy-driven jet stream over the North Atlantic is investigated. The North Atlantic jet stream variability is characterized by the latitude of the maximumlower tropospheric wind speed of the 40-yrECMWFRe-Analysis (ERA-40) data for the period 1 December 1957–28 February 2002.A hidden Markov model (HMM) analysis reveals that the jet stream exhibits three persistent regimes that correspond to northern, southern, and central jet states. The regime states are closely related to the North Atlantic Oscillation and the eastern Atlantic teleconnection pattern. The regime states are associated with distinct changes in the storm tracks and the frequency of occurrence of cyclonic and anticyclonic Rossby wave breaking. Three preferred regime transitions are identified, namely, southern to central jet, northern to southern jet, and central to northern jet. The preferred transitions can be interpreted as a preference for poleward propagation of the jet, but with the southern jet state entered via a dramatic shift from the northern state. Evidence is found that wave breaking is involved in two of the three preferred transitions (northern to southern jet and central to northern jet transitions). The predictability characteristics and the interannual variability in the frequency of occurrence of regimes are also discussed.


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Authors: Franzke, Christian, Woollings, Tim, Martius, Olivia

1 January, 2011
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences / 68
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