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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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We assess how consistently reanalyses represent potential vorticity (PV) among each other. PV helps describe dynamical processes in the stratosphere because it acts approximately as a tracer of the movement of air parcels; it is extensively used to identify the location of the tropopause and to identify and characterize the stratospheric polar vortex. Overall, PV from all reanalyses agrees well with the reanalysis ensemble mean.
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1181
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1181

  27 Nov 2020

27 Nov 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Reanalysis intercomparison of potential vorticity and potential-vorticity-based diagnostics

Luis F. Millan1, Gloria L. Manney2,3, and Zachary D. Lawrence4,5,6 Luis F. Millan et al.
  • 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
  • 2NorthWest Research Associates, Socorro, New Mexico, USA
  • 3New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico, USA
  • 4Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder Colorado, USA
  • 5NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL), Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 6NorthWest Research Associates, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Abstract. Global reanalyses from data assimilation systems are among the most widely used datasets in weather and climate studies, and potential vorticity (PV) from reanalyses is invaluable for many studies of dynamical and transport processes. We assess how consistently modern reanalyses represent potential vorticity (PV) among each other, focusing not only on PV but also on process-oriented dynamical diagnostics including equivalent latitude calculated from PV and PV-based tropopause and stratospheric polar vortex characterization.

In particular we assess the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Climate Forecast System Reanalysis/Climate Forecast System, version 2 (CFSR/CFSv2) reanalysis, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Interim (ERA-Interim) reanalysis, the Japanese Meteorological Agency’s 55-year (JRA-55) reanalysis, and the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2). Overall, PV from all reanalyses agrees well with the reanalysis ensemble mean, providing some confidence that all of these recent reanalyses are suitable for most studies using PV-based diagnostics. Specific diagnostics where some larger differences are seen include PV-based tropopause locations in regions that have strong tropopause gradients (such as around the subtropical jets) or are sparse in high-resolution data (such as over Antarctica), and the stratospheric polar vortices during fall vortex formation and (especially) spring vortex breakup; studies of sensitive situations/regions such as these should examine PV from multiple reanalyses.

Luis F. Millan et al.

 
Status: open (until 22 Jan 2021)
Status: open (until 22 Jan 2021)
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Luis F. Millan et al.

Luis F. Millan et al.

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Short summary
We assess how consistently reanalyses represent potential vorticity (PV) among each other. PV helps describe dynamical processes in the stratosphere because it acts approximately as a tracer of the movement of air parcels; it is extensively used to identify the location of the tropopause and to identify and characterize the stratospheric polar vortex. Overall, PV from all reanalyses agrees well with the reanalysis ensemble mean.
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