2021 journal article
Persistent Anomaly Changes in High-Resolution Climate Simulations
JOURNAL OF CLIMATE, 34(13), 5425–5442.
Abstract Persistent anomalies (PAs) are associated with a variety of impactful weather extremes, prompting research into how their characteristics will respond to climate change. Previous studies, however, have not provided conclusive results, owing to the complexity of the phenomenon and to difficulties in general circulation model (GCM) representations of PAs. Here, we diagnose PA activity in ten years of current and projected future output from global, high-resolution (15-km mesh) time-slice simulations performed with the Model for Prediction Across Scales-Atmosphere (MPAS-A). These time slices span a range of ENSO states. They include high-resolution representations of sea-surface temperatures and GCM-based sea ice for present and future climates. Future projections, based on the RCP8.5 scenario, exhibit strong Arctic amplification and tropical upper warming, providing a valuable experiment with which to assess the impact of climate change on PA frequency. The MPAS-A present-climate simulations reproduce the main centers of observed PA activity, but with an eastward shift in the North Pacific and reduced amplitude in the North Atlantic. The overall frequency of positive PAs in the future simulations is similar to that in the present-day simulations, while negative PAs become less frequent. Although some regional changes emerge, the small, generally negative changes in PA frequency and meridional circulation index indicate that climate change does not lead to increased persistence of midlatitude flow anomalies or increased waviness in these simulations.