Joint Seminar: Orography and Climate

Orography plays a critical role in the World’s climate, impacting the strength of the zonal mean flow, the stationary and transient waves that shape weather and climate around the globe, and even affecting the ocean circulation. During the 1980s and 1990s seminal work explored and detailed the general effects of orography on the stationary waves and climate. The general circulation models we have as research tools today are substantially more sophisticated than those available 20-40 years ago, allowing a more detailed analysis and understanding of the effect of orography on our climate. In this seminar I will review some surprising results from using a state-of-the-art climate model (WACCM) to study the impacts of orography, and put these in the context of the older literature. These include:

-       Quantifying the role of orography relative to land-sea contrast in shaping the zonal flow and stationary waves of the Northern Hemisphere

-       The surprising dominance of the “Mongolia mountains” over the Tibetan plateau and Himalaya for impacts on the Pacific jet, the stratospheric jet, and Sudden Stratospheric Warmings

-       The potential dominance of Asian over North American orography for impacts on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

-       The critical role of Greenland in the existence of the northern “preferred position” of the North Atlantic jet




13:30 h


Bundesstr. 53, room 022/023
Seminar Room 022/023, Ground Floor, Bundesstrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Hamburg


Rachel White, University of British Columbia/University of Barcelona


Jeremy Rugenstein

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