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On the Sensitivity of Zonal-Index Persistence to Friction

AuthorsZurita-Gotor, Pablo
KeywordsAnnular mode
Atmospheric circulation
Quasigeostrophic models
Arctic Oscillation
Issue Date1-Oct-2014
PublisherAmerican Meteorological Society
CitationJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 2014, 7110): 3788–3800
AbstractFriction is an important parameter in atmospheric modeling that may affect internal variability in a number of ways. It directly damps the annular-mode variability, but it also helps to maintain it through baroclinic feedbacks. Also, by determining the mean strength and position of the midlatitude jet, friction affects the internal dynamics that drive this variability. This work investigates the relevance of all of these factors for the sensitivity of the persistence of annular variability to changes in the zonal-mean friction using an idealized quasigeostrophic two-layer model. This model produces realistic variability, yet it is so simple that one can cleanly separate the different effects. It is found that the sensitivity of persistence to friction is dominated by the direct damping effect, while changes in the eddy momentum forcing and in the mean jet are not as important. As in more complex models, the persistence of the jet anomalies in this model decreases at all lags with increasing friction, but the long-time decorrelation decay rate of these anomalies is remarkably insensitive to friction. Although this implies that the eddy feedback must increase with friction to maintain the anomalies against the enhanced damping, it is shown that this is not due to baroclinic effects. A model that assumes that the eddy forcing does not change with friction can reproduce reasonably well the numerical results. The crucial factor that determines the model’s sensitivity to friction is the spectral structure of the eddy momentum forcing.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-14-0067.1
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