Seminar Details

Atmospheric dynamics of storm tracks




Dr. Yohai Kaspi - Dept. of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science


The northern hemisphere midlatitude storm tracks are regions of enhanced turbulent kinetic energy located mostly above the Atlantic and Pacific oceanic basins. The storm tracks originate off the western oceanic boundaries, regions of enhanced temperature gradients and strong air-sea heat exchange, and evolve downstream and poleward. Their downstream evolution and spatial structure are controlled by many factors such as atmospheric stationary waves, diabatic heating, and interaction with the jet-stream. In this talk, we will review how these processes control the location, downstream extent and poleward tilt of the storm tracks. Numerical simulations with an idealized general circulation model over a wide range of parameters will be used to demonstrate the mechanisms controlling these characteristics of the storm track. The model output is analyzed with a tracking algorithm to identify the mechanisms controlling the poleward drift of cyclones, and how these differ from anticyclones. Particular focus will be given to the coupling to oceanic boundaries, and how the difference between the Atlantic and Pacific basins might affect the differences between the two storm track regions. Finally, we will discuss how these mechanisms will be affected by climate change, and how this will influence the future position and intensity of the storm tracks.

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