On the effect of the East/Japan Sea SST variability on the North Pacific atmospheric circulation in a regional climate model

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Seo, Hyodae
Kwon, Young-Oh
Park, Jong Jin
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East Asian marginal seas
Air-sea interaction
Storm track
Atmospheric blocking
The East/Japan Sea (EJS) is a semi-enclosed marginal sea located in the upstream of the North Pacific storm track, where the leading modes of wintertime interannual variability in sea surface temperature (SST) are characterized by the basin-wide warming-cooling and the northeast-southwest dipole. Processes leading to local and remote atmospheric responses to these SST anomalies are investigated using the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. The atmosphere in direct contact with anomalous diabatic forcing exhibits a linear and symmetric response with respect to the sign, pattern, and magnitude of SST anomalies, producing increased (decreased) wind speed and precipitation response over warm (cold) SSTs. This local response is due to modulation of both the vertical stability of the marine atmospheric boundary layer and the adjustment of sea level pressure, although the latter provides a better explanation of the quadrature relationship between SST and wind speed. The linearity in the local response suggests the importance of fine-scale EJS SSTs to predictability of the regional weather and climate variability. The remote circulation response, in contrast, is strongly nonlinear. An intraseasonal equivalent barotropic ridge emerges in the Gulf of Alaska as a common remote response independent of EJS SST anomalies. This downstream blocking response is reinforced by the enhanced storm track variability east of Japan via transient eddy vorticity flux convergence. Strong nonlinearity in remote response implies that detailed EJS SST patterns may not be critical to this downstream ridge response. Overall, results demonstrate a remarkably far-reaching impact of the EJS SSTs on the atmospheric circulation.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119 (2014): 418–444, doi:10.1002/2013JD020523.
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119 (2014): 418–444
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