Disaggregating climatic trends by classification of circulation patterns


  • Radan Huth

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Boční II 1401, 141 31 Prague 4, Czech Republic
    • Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Boční II 1401, 141 31 Prague 4, Czech Republic
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The trends in occurrence frequencies of circulation types over Europe and in nine climate variables in the Czech Republic conditioned by the types are examined for period 1949–1980. The circulation types are determined by an objective procedure from daily 500 hPa heights. Both in summer and winter, anticyclonic types have become more frequent at the expense of cyclonic types. The circulation changes are shown to be unrelated to the trends in surface climate elements in summer, whereas in winter, trends in circulation explain a part of the observed warming and strengthening of southerly winds.

The trends in climate elements are not uniform among circulation types. In summer, the trend pattern consisting of decreasing maximum and daily mean temperatures, daily temperature range (DTR) and sunshine duration, and increasing cloudiness and relative humidity is observed under the cyclonic types and the types with a well-pronounced jet, but is missing under types with a blocking anticyclone over Europe. Two possible mechanisms causing this trend pattern are proposed: increasing cloudiness, and a process responsible for the reduction of sunshine without a concurrent increase of cloudiness. The latter mechanism can possibly be identified with increasing aerosol concentrations. In winter, the degree of warming is governed by changes in zonal wind. The mechanism of change in DTR seems to vary with elevation: at the lowland station (Prague-Klementinum), the increase in DTR is related to the warming trend, and consequently with zonal wind changes, while at the mountain station (Milešovka), the increase in DTR reflects the increase in precipitating clouds.

The changes in DTR are related much more to mid-tropospheric circulation than to cloud cover in summer, whereas in winter, cloud cover plays a more important role in affecting DTR trends. Copyright © 2001 Royal Meteorological Society