Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2020-62
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2020-62

  28 Dec 2020

28 Dec 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

Atmospheric blocking types: Frequencies and transitions

Carola Detring1,2, Annette Müller1, Lisa Schielicke1, Peter Névir1, and Henning W. Rust1 Carola Detring et al.
  • 1Institut für Meteorologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • 2Meteorologisches Observatorium Lindenberg - Richard-Aßmann-Observatorium, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Germany

Abstract. Stationary, long-lasting blocked weather patterns can lead to extreme conditions such as very high temperatures or heavy rainfall. They are defined by a persistent high pressure system in combination with one or two low pressure systems. The mechanisms for the onset of such weather patterns are still not fully understood. Using a novel method based on the kinematic vorticity number we distinguish between two blocking types, namely High-over-Low and Omega block, in previously-identified blocking periods. Our main goal of this work is to study the temporal evolution of the occurrence probability and the onset, offset, and transition probabilities of blocking on the northern hemisphere. We analyze NCEP-DOE Reanalysis 2 data over the30 year period from 1990 to 2019 in two regions: Euro-Atlantic sector (40° W–30° E) and half northern hemisphere (90° W–90° E). First, we use logistic regression to investigate the temporal development of blocking probabilities depending on years, seasons and months. We find no significant difference in blocking numbers over the 30 year period. But we find large differences in the occurrence probabilities on a monthly basis with strongest increases over the 30 year period in February and March that are compensated by a decrease in December and autumn. Second, we use a Markov model to calculate the transition probabilities for two models: One is composed of two states blocking and no blocking, and another Markov model (three states) that additionally distinguishes between the specific blocking types High-over-Low and Omega blocking as well as of the state no blocking. The description with Markov theory reduces the probability to change from one weather regime to another or to stay within the same regime to a dependency only on the previous time step. Over the 30 year period, we found the largest changes in transition probabilities in the summer season, where the transition probability to Omega blocks increase strongly, while the unblocked state becomes less probable. Hence, Omega blocks become more frequent and stable in summer at the expense of the other states. As a main result, we show that Omega blocking is more likely to occur and more persistent than the High-over-Low blocking pattern.

Carola Detring et al.

 
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Carola Detring et al.

Carola Detring et al.

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Short summary
Stationary, long-lasting blocked weather patterns can lead to extreme conditions. Within this study the temporal evolution of the occurrence probability is analysed and the onset, offset, and transition probabilities of blocking within the past 30 years are modeled. Using Markov models combined with logistic regression we found large changes in summer, where the probability of transitions to so-called Omega blocks increase strongly, while the unblocked state becomes less probable.