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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-226
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-226
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 18 Mar 2019

Research article | 18 Mar 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.

On the representation of major stratospheric warmings in reanalyses

Blanca Ayarzagüena1,2, Froila M. Palmeiro1,a, David Barriopedro2, Natalia Calvo1, Ulrike Langematz3, and Kiyotaka Shibata4 Blanca Ayarzagüena et al.
  • 1Dpto. Física de la Tierra y Astrofísica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, 28040, Spain
  • 2nstituto de Geociencias (IGEO), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, 28040, Spain
  • 3Institut für Meteorologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, 12165, Germany
  • 4School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Kochi University of Technology, Kami, 7828502, Japan
  • anow at: Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS)

Abstract. Major sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) represent one of the most abrupt phenomena of the boreal wintertime stratospheric variability, and constitute the clearest example of coupling between the stratosphere and the troposphere. A good representation of SSWs in climate models is required to reduce their biases and uncertainties in future projections of stratospheric variability. The ability of models to reproduce these phenomena is usually assessed with just one reanalysis. However, the number of reanalyses has increased in the last decade and their own biases may affect the model evaluation. Here we compare the representation of the main aspects of SSWs across reanalyses. The examination of their main characteristics in the pre- and post-satellite periods reveals that reanalyses behave very similarly in both periods. However, discrepancies are larger in the pre-satellite period than afterwards, particularly for the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis. All datasets reproduce similarly the specific features of wavenumber-1 and wavenumber-2 SSWs. A good agreement among reanalyses is also found for triggering mechanisms, tropospheric precursors and surface fingerprint. In particular, differences in blocking precursor activity of SSWs across reanalyses are much smaller than between blocking definitions.

Blanca Ayarzagüena et al.
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Interactive discussion
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Status: closed
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Blanca Ayarzagüena et al.
Blanca Ayarzagüena et al.
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Short summary
Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are abrupt rises in the wintertime polar stratosphere that also affect the troposphere. Their study is hampered by the limited observations in the stratosphere and mostly relies on reanalyses, i.e. models that include observations. Here we compare the representation of SSWs by the most used reanalyses. SSWs results are consistent across reanalyses, but some differences are found, in particular before the satellite era.
Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are abrupt rises in the wintertime polar stratosphere that...
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