Poleward Tropical Moisture Transport and its Link to Four Sequential Extreme Weather Events over North America in October 2007

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 2:55 PM
Lance F Bosart, SUNY Albany, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Albany, NY, United States, Jason M Cordeira, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH, United States, Heather M. Archambault, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, United States and Benjamin J Moore, SUNY Albany, Albany, NY, United States
A case of four sequentially linked extreme weather events (EWEs) during 22 – 31 October 2007 which included wildfires in southern California, cold surges in northern and eastern Mexico, widespread heavy rain in the eastern United Sates, and heavy rains in southern Mexico is presented. These EWEs were preceded by a rapid dynamically driven rapid amplification of the upper-level flow across the North Pacific and North America associated with the formation of a large-amplitude Rossby wave train (RWT) through downstream baroclinic development involving multiple tropical and polar disturbance interactions with the North Pacific jet stream. The primary contributors to the formation of the large-amplitude RWT were two sequential upper-level polar disturbances, a diabatic Rossby vortex, western North Pacific TC Kajiki, and migratory extratropical cyclones (ECs). Deep subtropical and tropical moisture plumes resembling “atmospheric rivers” drawn poleward along warm conveyor belts into the warm sectors of these ECs played a critical role in further amplifying the downstream upper-level ridges based on an Eulerian analysis of negative potential vorticity advection by the irrotational wind and a Lagrangian trajectory analysis of tropical and subtropical moisture sources. In particular, these atmospheric rivers extending poleward from TC Kajiki and from the subtropical eastern North Pacific into the warm sectors of polar disturbance-generated ECs over the western and eastern North Pacific, respectively, bolstered latent heat release and ridge building and contributed to additional upper-level flow amplification. The EWEs occurred subsequent to anticyclonic wave breaking over western North America and the concomitant downstream formation of a meridionally elongated potential vorticity streamer over the central United States. The resulting high-amplitude flow pattern over North America favored the formation of the aforementioned EWEs by promoting an extensive meridional exchange of air masses from high and low latitudes.