Revisiting the zonally asymmetric extratropical circulation of the Southern Hemisphere spring using complex empirical orthogonal functions

Spatial patterns of the four leading EOFs of SON geopotential height zonal anomalies at 50 hPa south of 20º S for the 1979 – 2019 period (arbitrary units).


The large-scale extratropical circulation in the Southern Hemisphere is much more zonally symmetric than that of the Northern Hemisphere, but its zonal departures, albeit highly relevant for regional impacts, have been less studied. In this study we analyse the joint variability of the zonally asymmetric springtime stratospheric and tropospheric circulation using Complex Empirical Orthogonal Functions (cEOF) to characterise planetary waves of varying amplitude and phase. The leading cEOF represents variability of a zonal wave 1 in the stratosphere that correlates slightly with the Symmetric Southern Annular Mode (S-SAM). The second cEOF (cEOF2) is an alternative representation of the Pacific-South American modes. One phase of this cEOF is also very highly correlated with the Asymmetric SAM (A-SAM) in the troposphere. Springs with an active ENSO tend to lock the cEOF2 to a specific phase, but have no consistent impact on its magnitude. Furthermore, we find indications that the location of Pacific Sea Surface Temperature anomalies affect the phase of the cEOF2. As a result, the methodology proposed in this study provides a deeper understanding of the zonally asymmetric springtime extratropical SH circulation.

Climate Dynamics
Elio Campitelli
Elio Campitelli
Atmospheric Scientist

I’m interested in open source, atmospheric sciences and R programming.