, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 633-645
Date: 27 Apr 2007

Teleconnection patterns and Rossby wave propagation associated to generalized frosts over southern South America

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Abstract

Based on previous observational studies of the mean atmospheric circulation leading to generalized frosts (GF) in central Southern South America, it is possible to establish a hypothesis that specific large scale patterns are associated to the frequency of occurrence of these events through the propagation of Rossby waves remotely excited. This hypothesis is tested here through a teleconnection analysis for austral winters which present an extreme frequency of occurrence of GF in southeastern South America, particularly over the Wet Pampa area in Argentina. Rossby wave propagation regions are identified for two basic states given by the composition of winters with maximum and minimum frequency of GF occurrence, during the 1961–1990 period. The stationary wavenumber K s indicates the regions where the Rossby wave propagation is permitted and those where it will be inhibited (K s  = 0), highlighting the importance of the jets as waveguides. Nevertheless, differences exist between both basic states analyzed. These differences indicate that the locations for wave generation and its later evolution are conditioned by the basic state. Results are validated through a baroclinic model, which simulates the Rossby wave patterns responsible for the teleconnection. Numerical experiments confirm that the principal wave activity takes place inside the subtropical and polar jets. In particular, for the basic state with maximum frequency of GF occurrence, the wave trains propagating inside the subtropical and polar waveguides merge just before entering the continent, as shown by the observations prior to the occurrence of GF events. This configuration favors the development of an intense south wind anomaly with large meridional extension which results in the intensification of anticyclonic circulation in southern South America. A conceptual model is presented to summarise all these results.