The predictability of the extratropical stratosphere on monthly time-scales and its impact on the skill of tropospheric forecasts
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Wiley / Royal Meteorological Society
© 2014 The Authors. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the Royal Meteorological Society This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Extreme variability of the winter- and spring-time stratospheric polar vortex has been shown to affect extratropical tropospheric weather. Therefore, reducing stratospheric forecast error may be one way to improve the skill of tropospheric weather forecasts. In this review, the basis for this idea is examined. A range of studies of different stratospheric extreme vortex events shows that they can be skilfully forecasted beyond 5 days and into the sub-seasonal range (0–30 days) in some cases. Separate studies show that typical errors in forecasting a stratospheric extreme vortex event can alter tropospheric forecast skill by 5–7% in the extratropics on sub-seasonal time-scales. Thus understanding what limits stratospheric predictability is of significant interest to operational forecasting centres. Both limitations in forecasting tropospheric planetary waves and stratospheric model biases have been shown to be important in this context.
This work is supported by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) funded project Stratospheric Network for the Assessment of Predictability (SNAP) (Grant H5147600) and partially supported by the SPARC. ACP and RGH acknowledge funding through the EU ARISE project (Grant 284387) (EU-FP7). We also acknowledge Steven Pawson and Lawrence Coy from NASA for providing Figure 1. We wish to thank Lorenzo Polvani from Columbia University for providing Figure 4 and Amy Butler from NOAA for her contribution to Figure 5. We thank Adrian Simmons of ECMWF for his insightful review and two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions that improved the quality of the manuscript.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 141 (689), pp. 987 - 1003