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Climatological variations in the Northern Hemisphere circumpolar vortex in January

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Recent secular variations in the January circumpolar vortex over the Northern Hemisphere are examined by digitizing the latitude at which the 546 dam isoheight at 50 kPa crosses every 10° meridian from 1947–90. A statistically significant expansion of the vortex is detected from 1966–90. Most of the expansion occurred over the North Pacific Ocean in the vicinity of the Aleutian Low and a less dramatic but significant expansion also occurred over eastern Canada and northern New England. The only region where the vortex contracted significantly is over the western United States. The trough in the western Pacific expanded eastward across the International Date Line in the past quarter century and, in conjunction with the observed contraction over the western United States, indicates amplification of 50 kPa standing waves in the Western Hemisphere. This change in circulation regimes could account for the increased frequency of warm air masses and the decreased occurrence of the coldest wintertime air masses in Alaska.

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Davis, R.E., Benkovic, S.R. Climatological variations in the Northern Hemisphere circumpolar vortex in January. Theor Appl Climatol 46, 63–73 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00866086

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  • Vortex
  • Waste Water
  • United States
  • Northern Hemisphere
  • Pacific Ocean