Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2021-5
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2021-5

  27 Jan 2021

27 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

Linking air stagnation in Europe with the large-scale atmospheric circulation

Jacob W. Maddison1, Marta Abalos1, David Barriopedro2, Ricardo García-Herrera1,2, Jose M. Garrido-Perez1, and Carlos Ordóñez1 Jacob W. Maddison et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Physics and Astrophysics, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 2Instituto de Geociencias (IGEO), CSIC-UCM, Madrid, Spain

Abstract. The build-up of pollutants to harmful levels can occur when meteorological conditions favour their production or accumulation near the surface. Previous studies have shown that such conditions are often associated with air stagnation. Understanding the development of stagnant conditions is therefore crucial for studying poor air quality. The link between European air stagnation and the large-scale circulation is investigated in this article across all seasons and the 1979–2018 period. Dynamical based indices identifying atmospheric blocking, Rossby wave breaking, subtropical ridges, and the North Atlantic eddy-driven and subtropical jets are used to describe the large-scale circulation as predictors in a statistical model of air stagnation variability. It is found that the large-scale circulation can explain approximately 60 % of the variance in monthly air stagnation in five distinct regions within Europe. The variance explained by the model does not vary strongly across regions and seasons. However, the dynamical indices most related to air stagnation do depend on region and season. The blocking and Rossby wave breaking predictors tend to be the most important for describing air stagnation variability in northern regions whereas ridges and the subtropical jet are more important to the south. The demonstrated correspondence between air stagnation and the large-scale circulation can be used to assess the representation of stagnation in climate models, which is key for understanding how air quality and its associated health risks may change in the future.

Jacob W. Maddison et al.

Status: open (until 04 Apr 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on wcd-2021-5', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Feb 2021 reply

Jacob W. Maddison et al.

Jacob W. Maddison et al.

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Short summary
Air stagnation occurs when an air mass becomes settled over a region and precipitation is suppressed. The large-scale influence on European air stagnation is explored here. We show that around 60 % of the monthly variability in air stagnation can be explained by dynamical indices describing the large-scale circulation. The weather systems most related to stagnation are different for regions across Europe. The findings can be used to assess the representation of air stagnation in climate models.