The Planetary- and Synoptic-Scale Interactions in a Southeast Pacific Blocking Episode Using PV Diagnostics
Burkhardt, John P.
Lupo, Anthony R., 1966-
University of Missouri-Columbia. College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). School of Natural Resources. Department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences.
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The synoptic- and planetary-scale forcing in two blocking anticyclones occurring over the southeast Pacific Ocean was examined using potential vorticity diagnostics. While many studies have examined the dynamic and thermodynamic forcing associated with blocking events in the Northern Hemisphere (NH), very few studies have examined blocking in the Southern Hemisphere (SH). Climatological analysis suggests SH blocking events in the Pacific region have similar characteristics to their NH counterparts. However, the occurrence of blocking is rare elsewhere in the SH, and these events are relatively short-lived. Some studies of NH blocking dynamics have also shown that the extent to which the planetary- and synoptic-scale and planetary-synoptic-scale interaction forcing that contribute to the genesis and maintenance of Pacific and Atlantic region events can be different. Thus, a study of the relevant atmospheric dynamics associated with blocking events in the SH was carried out in order to determine whether or not these events are associated with similar dynamic mechanisms to those in the NH. Using the National Center for Atmospheric Research and National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCAR-NCEP) reanalyses dataset and applying a low-pass filter to the relevant variables, the authors examined the scale interactions associated with two blocking events that occurred during July and August 1986 and applied potential vorticity diagnostics. Results demonstrate that blocking in the southeast Pacific was associated with similar synoptic features, and the forcing mechanisms on the planetary, synoptic scales, and interactions were more similar to North Pacific blocking events rather than those occurring over the NH Atlantic region. However, these results also demonstrated that blocking events in the NH were associated with synergistically interacting synoptic- and planetary-scale waves, while in the SH, blocking events resulted from the superposition of synoptic and planetary waves. This result may explain the paucity of blocking occurrences and their tendency to be weaker and less persistent over much of the SH.
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, v 62, iss 6, p. 1901-1916