Atmospheric Circulation Associated with Persistent Generalized Frosts in Central-Southern South America

Müller, Gabriela V.; Berri, Guillermo J.
April 2007
Monthly Weather Review;Apr2007, Vol. 135 Issue 4, p1268
Academic Journal
This paper describes the large-scale atmospheric circulation associated with persistent generalized frosts (GFs; at least 75% of the stations report frosts) in the east-central region of Argentina known as the Wet Pampa. The GF events are grouped according to their persistence, and NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data are used to create daily composites of mass and wind field anomalies during the 1961–90 winters. The GFs are caused by an anticyclonic anomaly that enters South America, generating southerly wind anomalies and cold air advection that are strengthened by the meridional layout of a cyclonic anomaly over the South Atlantic Ocean. In the case of the more persistent events the wind anomaly grows during the previous days and becomes quasi-stationary. Also, the study identifies at 250 hPa a double train of eastward-moving Rossby waves along the subtropical and subpolar latitudes, respectively, of the Southern Hemisphere. The layout of both wave trains favors the development of an intense southerly wind anomaly in the entire southern cone of the continent. On the other hand, the propagation pattern during the less persistent GFs shows only one arc-shaped Rossby wave train that reaches South America, and then propagates northeastward. Additionally, there is a subtropical jet entrance/confluence over the western side of the continent that induces a secondary meridional circulation whose subsiding branch facilitates the equatorward displacement of the low-level anticyclone, particularly in the case of the less persistent events. In the case of the more persistent GFs the confluence is located farther east and sustains essentially zonal wave train propagation, so that the surface anticyclone is not able to achieve a major equatorward penetration.


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