A linear stochastic model of a GCM's midlatitude storm tracks

Yunqing Zhang, Isaac M. Held

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


A linear stochastic model is used to simulate the midlatitude storm tracks produced by an atmospheric GCM. A series of six perpetual insolation/SST GCM experiments are first performed for each month. These experiments capture the "midwinter suppression" of the Pacific storm track in a particularly clean way. The stochastic model is constructed by linearizing the GCM about its January climatology and finding damping and stirring parameters that best reproduce that model's eddy statistics. The model is tested by examining its ability to simulate other GCM integrations when the basic state is changed to the mean flow of those models, while keeping the stirring and damping unchanged. The stochastic model shows an impressive ability to simulate a variety of eddy statistics. It captures the midwinter suppression of the Pacific storm track qualitatively and is also capable of simulating storm track responses to El Nino. The model results are sensitive to the manner in which the model is stirred. Best results for eddy variances and fluxes are obtained by stirring the temperature and vorticity at low levels. However, a better simulation of the spatial structure of the dominant wave train as defined by covariance maps is obtained by stirring the temperature equation only, and at all levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3416-3435
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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