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Climate Dynamics

, 33:1179 | Cite as

Trends and variability of storminess in the Northeast Atlantic region, 1874–2007

  • Xiaolan L. Wang
  • Francis W. Zwiers
  • Val R. Swail
  • Yang Feng
Article

Abstract

This article builds on the previous studies on storminess conditions in the northeast North Atlantic–European region. The period of surface pressure data analyzed is extended from 1881–1998 to 1874–2007. The seasonality and regional differences of storminess conditions in this region are also explored in more detail. The results show that storminess conditions in this region have undergone substantial decadal or longer time scale fluctuations, with considerable seasonal and regional differences. The most notable differences are seen between winter and summer, and between the North Sea area and other parts of the region. In particular, winter storminess shows an unprecedented maximum in the early 1990s in the North Sea area and a steady upward trend in the northeastern part of the region, while it appears to have declined in the western part of the region. In summer, storminess appears to have declined in most parts of this region. In the transition seasons, the storminess trend is characterized by increases in the northern part of the region and decreases in the southeastern part, with increases in the north being larger in spring. In particular, the results also show that the earliest storminess maximum occurred in summer (around 1880), while the latest storminess maximum occurred in winter (in the early 1990s). Looking at the annual metrics alone (as in previous studies), one would conclude that the latest storminess maximum is at about the same level as the earliest storminess maximum, without realizing that this is comparing the highest winter storminess level with the highest summer storminess level in the period of record analyzed, while winter and summer storminess conditions have undergone very different long-term variability and trends. Also, storminess conditions in the NE Atlantic region are found to be significantly correlated with the simultaneous NAO index in all seasons but autumn. The higher the NAO index, the rougher the NE Atlantic storminess conditions, especially in winter and spring.

Keywords

North Atlantic Oscillation Index Geostrophic Wind Speed Storminess Condition North Pacific Storm Track Ocean Wave Height 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are very grateful to Dr. Gil Compo and other members of GCOS/WCRP AOPC/OOPC (Atmosphere/Ocean Observation Panel for Climate) Working Group on Surface Pressure for providing us with the Integrated Surface Pressure Databank, which includes all the pressure data we analyzed in this study. The authors wish to thank Mr. Tommy Jang and Ms. Hui Wan for their help in downloading and extracting the data from the database. The authors also wish to acknowledge Mr. Torben Schmith of Danish Meteorological Institute for providing Val R. Swail his FORTRAN codes for calculating geostrophic wind speeds from pressure triangles, which we have modified slightly and used in this study. The authors also wish to thank Drs. Xuebin Zhang and Seung-Ki Min for their useful internal review of an earlier version of this manuscript, and the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful review comments.

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Copyright information

© © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaolan L. Wang
    • 1
  • Francis W. Zwiers
    • 1
  • Val R. Swail
    • 1
  • Yang Feng
    • 1
  1. 1.Climate Research DivisionAtmospheric Science and Technology Branch, Environment CanadaTorontoCanada

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