NOGAPS-ALPHA Simulations of the 2002 Southern Hemisphere Stratospheric Major Warming
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC REMOTE SENSING DIV
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A high-altitude version of the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System NOGAPS spectral forecast model is used to simulate the unusual September 2002 Southern Hemisphere stratospheric major warming. Designated as NOGAPS-Advanced Level Physics and High Altitude NOGAPS-ALPHA, this model extends from the surface to 0.005 hPa 85 km altitude and includes modifications to multiple components of the operational NOGAPS system, including a new radiative heating scheme, middle-atmosphere gravity wave drag parameterizations, hybrid vertical coordinate, upper-level meteorological initialization, and radiatively active prognostic ozone with parameterized photochemistry. NOGAPS-ALPHA forecasts hindcasts out to 6 days capture the main features of the major warming, such as the zonal mean wind reversal, planetary-scale wave amplification, large upward Eliassen Palm EP fluxes, and splitting of the polar vortex in the middle stratosphere. Forecasts beyond 6 days have reduced upward EP flux in the lower stratosphere, reduced amplitude of zonal wave-numbers 2 and 3, and a middle stratospheric vortex that does not split. Three-dimensional EP-flux diagnostics in the troposphere reveal that the longer forecasts underestimate upward-propagating planetary wave energy emanating from a significant blocking pattern over the South Atlantic that played a large role in forcing the major warming. Forecasts of less than 6 days are initialized with the blocking in place, and therefore are not required to predict the blocking onset. For a more thorough skill assessment, NOGAPS-ALPHA forecasts over 3 weeks during September-October 2002 are compared with operational NOGAPS 5-day forecasts made at the time. NOGAPS-ALPHA forecasts initialized with 2002 operational NOGAPS analyses show a modest improvement in skill over the NOGAPS operational forecasts.
- Atmospheric Physics