Seasonal Predictability of Baroclinic Wave Activity: Toward Predicting Risks of Extratropical Extremes

Dec. 15, 2021

There is intense public and scientific interest in weather and climate extremes. Understanding to what degree these phenomena are predictable has great practical value to society. Midlatitude baroclinic waves drive extratropical weather and climate extremes, but the predictability of these waves beyond 2 weeks has long been deemed low.

The authors of a recent study, led by former AOS Postdoc Gan Zhang and funded by the Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth System (CIMES), explored the predictability using state-of-the-art research tools, including GFDL’s new SPEAR model. This investigation attempted to outline the predictability limits and opportunities in the extratropics to “accelerate progress in providing practicable predictions across a broader set of phenomena”, as recommended by a National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine workshop on Earth system predictability research and development, held in July 2020. AOS Associate Research Scholar Feiyu Lu, AOS Faculty Member Tom Delworth, and AOS Postdoc Kai-Chih Tseng are among the paper's co-authors.

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