A topological perspective on weather regimes
ArXiv 2104.03196 (2021)
Abstract:It has long been suggested that the mid-latitude atmospheric circulation possesses what has come to be known as `weather regimes', loosely categorised as regions of phase space with above-average density and/or extended persistence. Their existence and behaviour has been extensively studied in meteorology and climate science, due to their potential for drastically simplifying the complex and chaotic mid-latitude dynamics. Several well-known, simple non-linear dynamical systems have been used as toy-models of the atmosphere in order to understand and exemplify such regime behaviour. Nevertheless, no agreed-upon and clear-cut definition of a `regime' exists in the literature. We argue here for an approach which equates the existence of regimes in a dynamical system with the existence of non-trivial topological structure of the system's attractor. We show using persistent homology, an algorithmic tool in topological data analysis, that this approach is computationally tractable, practically informative, and identifies the relevant regime structure across a range of examples.
Impact of stochastic physics and model resolution on the simulation of tropical cyclones in climate GCMs
Journal of Climate American Meteorological Society 34:11 (2021) 4315-4341
Abstract:The role of model resolution in simulating geophysical vortices with the characteristics of realistic Tropical Cyclones (TCs) is well established. The push for increasing resolution continues, with General Circulation Models (GCMs) starting to use sub-10km grid spacing. In the same context it has been suggested that the use of Stochastic Physics (SP) may act as a surrogate for high resolution, providing some of the benefits at a fraction of the cost. Either technique can reduce model uncertainty, and enhance reliability, by providing a more dynamic environment for initial synoptic disturbances to be spawned and to grow into TCs. We present results from a systematic comparison of the role of model resolution and SP in the simulation of TCs, using EC-Earth simulations from project Climate-SPHINX, in large ensemble mode, spanning five different resolutions. All tropical cyclonic systems, including TCs, were tracked explicitly. As in previous studies, the number of simulated TCs increases with the use of higher resolution, but SP further enhances TC frequencies by ≈ 30%, in a strikingly similar way. The use of SP is beneficial for removing systematic climate biases, albeit not consistently so for interannual variability; conversely, the use of SP improves the simulation of the seasonal cycle of TC frequency. An investigation of the mechanisms behind this response indicates that SP generates both higher TC (and TC seed) genesis rates, and more suitable environmental conditions, enabling a more efficient transition of TC seeds into TCs. These results were confirmed by the use of equivalent simulations with the HadGEM3-GC31 GCM.
Jet speed variability obscures Euro‐Atlantic regime structure
Geophysical Research Letters American Geophysical Union 47:15 (2020) e2020GL087907
Abstract:Euro‐Atlantic regimes are typically identified using either the latitude of the North Atlantic jet or clustering algorithms in the phase space of 500‐hPa geopotential (Z500). However, while robust trimodality is visibly apparent in jet latitude indices, Z500 clusters require highly sensitive significance tests to distinguish them from autocorrelated noise. This leads to considerable decadal variability in regime patterns, confounding many potential applications. A clear‐cut choice of the optimal number of regimes is also hard to justify. We argue that the jet speed, a near‐Gaussian distribution projecting strongly onto the Z500 field, is the source of these difficulties. Once its influence is removed, the phase space becomes visibly non‐Gaussian, and clustering algorithms easily recover three regimes, closely corresponding to the jet latitude modes. Further analysis supports the existence of two additional blocking regimes, corresponding to a tilted and split jet. All five regimes are approximately stationary across the twentieth century.
Through a Jet Speed Darkly: The Emergence of Robust Euro-Atlantic Regimes in the Absence of Jet Speed Variability
ArXiv 2003.04871 (2020)
Abstract:Euro-Atlantic regimes are typically identified using either the latitude of the eddy-driven jet, or clustering algorithms in the phase space of 500hPa geopotential height (Z500). However, while robust trimodality is visibly apparent in jet latitude indices, Z500 clusters require highly sensitive significance tests to distinguish them from autocorrelated noise. As a result, even small shifts in the time-period considered can notably alter the diagnosed regimes. Fixing the optimal regime number is also hard to justify. We argue that the jet speed, a near-Gaussian distribution projecting strongly onto the Z500 field, is the source of this lack of robustness. Once its influence is removed, the Z500 phase space becomes visibly non-Gaussian, and clustering algorithms easily recover three extremely stable regimes, corresponding to the jet latitude regimes. Further analysis supports the existence of two additional regimes, corresponding to a tilted and split jet. This framework therefore naturally unifies the two regime perspectives.
The Impact of a Stochastic Parameterization Scheme on Climate Sensitivity in EC-Earth
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES 124:23 (2019) 12726-12740