Exploring the Tropically Excited Arctic Warming mechanism with station data: Links between tropical convection and Arctic downward infrared radiation

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Abstract

The Tropically Excited Arctic Warming (TEAM) mechanism ascribes warming of the Arctic surface to tropical convection, which excites poleward-propagating Rossby wave trains that transport water vapor and heat into the Arctic. A crucial component of the TEAM mechanism is the increase in downward infrared radiation (IR) that precedes the Arctic warming. Previous studies have examined the downward IR associated with the TEAM mechanism using reanalysis data. To corroborate previous findings, this study examines the linkage between tropical convection, Rossby wave trains, and downward IR with Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) downward IR station data. The physical processes that drive changes in the downward IR are also investigated by regressing 300-hPa geopotential height, outgoing longwave radiation, water vapor flux, ERA-Interim downward IR, and other key variables against the BSRN downward IR at Barrow, Alaska, and Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen. Both the Barrow and the Ny-Ålesund station downward IR anomalies are preceded by anomalous tropical convection and poleward-propagating Rossby wave trains. The wave train associated with Barrow resembles the Pacific-North America teleconnection pattern, and that for Ny-Ålesund corresponds to a northwestern Atlantic wave train. It is found that both wave trains promote warm and moist advection from the midlatitudes into the Arctic. The resulting water vapor flux convergence, multiplied by the latent heat of vaporization, closely resembles the regressed ERA-Interim downward IR. These results suggest that the combination of warm advection, latent heat release, and increased cloudiness all contribute toward an increase in downward IR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1158
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume73
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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