Toward a Multi-Decadal Climatology of North Pacific Polar Lows Employing Dynamical Downscaling

  • Author(s): Fei Chen, Beate Geyer, Matthias Zahn, and Hans von Storch
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2011.11.02.01(A)
  • Keywords: North Pacific, Polar Low, Downscaling, Tracking algorithm, Regional climate modeling
Abstract

The North Pacific is an area where sub-synoptic Polar Lows frequently form during the cold season, especially over the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and Japan Sea. So far, a multi-decadal climatology of such Polar Lows based on individual cases has not been assembled. Here, we consider dynamical downscaling method for realistically constructing the formation and life cycles of such lows over the past 6 decades without exploiting sub-synoptic information in initial fields. To do so, a regional climate model is conditioned by large-scale information of NCEP re-analyses. We test the approach by examining its skill in simulating ten known cases of North Pacific Polar Lows. Three of these are discussed in some detail.

The signatures of all storms emerge in the simulations with additional sub-synoptic details. The tracks of the simulated Polar Lows closely follow the tracks derived from satellite imagery. We conclude that the suggested method is suitable for constructing multi-decade climatologies, including trends and variability, of Polar Lows in the North Pacific by dynamically downscaling NCEP re-analyses.

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