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Journal Article

Dynamics of localized extreme heatwaves in the mid-latitude atmosphere: A conceptual examination


Rostami,  Masoud
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Severino,  Luca
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Petri,  Stefan
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Hariri,  Saeed
External Organizations;

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Rostami, M., Severino, L., Petri, S., Hariri, S. (2024): Dynamics of localized extreme heatwaves in the mid-latitude atmosphere: A conceptual examination. - Atmospheric Science Letters, 25, 1, e1188.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_28679
This study investigates the adjustment of large-scale localized buoyancy anomalies in mid-latitude regions and the nonlinear evolution of associated condensation patterns in both adiabatic and moist-convective environments. This investigation is carried out utilizing the two-layer idealized moist-convective thermal rotating shallow water (mcTRSW) model. Our investigation reveals that the presence of a circular positive potential temperature anomaly in the lower layer initiates an anticyclonic high-pressure rotation, accompanied by a negative buoyancy anomaly in the upper layer, resulting in an anisotropic northeast–southwest tilted circulation of heat flux. The evolution of eddy heat fluxes, such as poleward heat flux, energy, and meridional elongation of the buoyancy field, heavily depends on the perturbation's strength, size, and vertical structure. The heatwave initiates atmospheric instability, leading to precipitation systems such as rain bands and asymmetric latent heat release due to moist convection in a diabatic environment. This creates a comma cloud pattern in the upper troposphere and a comma-shaped buoyancy anomaly in the lower layer, accompanied by the emission of inertia gravity waves. The southern and eastern sectors of the buoyancy anomaly show an upward flux, generating a stronger cross-equatorial flow and inertia-gravity waves in a southward and eastward direction. Furthermore, the simulations reveal a similar asymmetric pattern of total condensed liquid water content distribution, accompanied by the intensification of moist convection as rain bands. This intensification is more pronounced in barotropic structures than in baroclinic configurations with stagnant upper layers. This study highlights the importance of considering moist convection and its effects on atmospheric and oceanic flows in mid-latitude regions, as well as the role of buoyancy anomalies in generating heatwaves and precipitation patterns.