The Climatology of Blocking Anticyclones for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres: Block Intensity as a Diagnostic
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A 30-yr climatology of blocking events was compiled by stratifying the data into seasonal and three regional categories for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres using the NCEP-NCAR reanalyses. Several characteristics of blocking anticyclones were included in the study and these were frequency of occurrence, preferred formation regions, duration, blocking days, and intensity. The block intensity (BI) calculation was modified successfully from a previous study in order to automate the procedure for use with large datasets, and it is applied for the first time to derive a long-term observational record of this quantity. This modification also makes BI suitable for use as a diagnostic tool. Blocking events in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere were the most persistent and strongest during the cold season and over the Atlantic (Pacific) region, as found using BI to measure intensity. The characteristics of blocking events derived in this study were compared to previous long-term climatological studies and across each hemisphere. It was found that the temporal and spatial distributions in both hemispheres were similar to those of longer-term studies. The interannual variability of blocking was also examined with respect to ENSO-related variability for the entire blocking year. It was found that Northern (Southern) Hemisphere blocking events were stronger and more frequent during La Nin˜a (El Nin˜o) years, a result that is consistent with cyclone variability in each hemisphere. Additionally, these results were compared with previously published studies of interannual variability in blocking occurrence.
Journal of Climate Volume 15, Issue 23 (December 2002), pp. 3459-3473