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Analyzing the Influence of Stratospheric Events on Extreme Weather in North America


4 maps from the paper displaying data.

Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.

The source is from the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

During winter, there can be intense movement of waves in the stratosphere that can extend all the way down to the surface. In a recently published study, Ding and colleagues [2023] measure the effects of these strong stratospheric wave events on surface temperature and pressure in North America. They also investigate how these events impact “atmospheric rivers” (AR), which carry large amounts of water to the western coast of the United States. This is the first research to link the stratosphere to AR.

The researchers discovered a relationship between changes in weather and atmospheric circulation, which is influenced by the interaction of planetary waves in the troposphere and stratosphere. Their study also looks into how this coupling behaves in modern climate models from CMIP6. While certain models accurately reflect this behavior, those with inadequate depiction of stratospheric wave patterns show consistent inaccuracies in the troposphere during intense wave events. These results suggest the need for better representation of the stratosphere in climate models.

The reference is: Ding, X., Chen, G., & Ma, W. (2023). Linking extreme wave activity in the stratosphere and troposphere in CMIP6 models. In Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (Vol. 128). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1029/2023JD038811.

—William J. Randel, Editor, JGR: Atmospheres

Text © 2023. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

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