Informal Seminar: Euro-Atlantic weather regimes and their modulation by tropospheric and stratospheric teleconnection pathways in ECMWF reforecasts

Council Chamber

Council Chamber


This study combines operational reforecasts (2001-2021) with results from a lower-resolution 41-year reforecast (1980-2020) to provide a robust assessment of wintertime Euro-Atlantic regimes and their modulation by tropospheric and stratospheric teleconnection pathways in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) prediction system. In both operational and lower-resolution reforecasts, the climatological properties of wintertime Euro-Atlantic regimes, including regime structures, frequencies, and transition probabilities, are accurately simulated at S2S lead times. However, the 41-year reforecasts allow us to diagnose substantial errors in regime statistics when conditioned on modes of intraseasonal-to-interannual variability. In particular, ECMWF reforecasts underestimate the response of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) and fail to reproduce the modulation of MJO-NAO teleconnections by the El Ni\~no-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Teleconnection and atmospheric wave diagnostics highlight two specific issues that are likely to contribute to these conditional errors in ECMWF reforecasts: (i) insufficient propagation of Rossby wave activity from the Pacific to the Atlantic following MJO phase 3 during El Ni\~no conditions, when the direct tropospheric teleconnection pathway is most active, and (ii) an underestimated response of the stratospheric polar vortex following MJO phase 8 during La Ni\~na conditions, when the indirect stratospheric teleconnection pathway is most active.  Improving the representation of tropospheric and stratospheric teleconnection pathways is thus a priority for improving ECMWF forecasts of extratropical weather regimes and their associated surface impacts.