GRL: Size of the atmospheric blocking events: Scaling law and response to climate change

Nabizadeh, E.Hassanzadeh, P.Yang, D., & Barnes, E. A. ( 2019). Size of the atmospheric blocking events: Scaling law and response to climate changeGeophysical Research Letters46https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL084863

 

Abstract

Understanding the response of atmospheric blocking events to climate change has been of great interest in recent years. However, potential changes in the blocking area (size), which can affect the spatiotemporal characteristics of the resulting extreme events, have not received much attention. Using two large‐ensemble, fully coupled general circulation model (GCM) simulations, we show that the size of blocking events increases with climate change, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere (by as much as 17%). Using a two‐layer quasi‐geostrophic model and a dimensional analysis technique, we derive a scaling law for the size of blocking events, which shows that area mostly scales with width of the jet times the Kuo scale (i.e., the length of stationary Rossby waves). The scaling law is validated in a range of idealized GCM simulations. Predictions of this scaling law agree well with changes in blocking events’ size under climate change in fully coupled GCMs in winters but not in summers.

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