Dynamics of Rossby wave initiation in the extratropics and link to sensible surface weather

I investigate the initiation of synoptic-scale Rossby waves and their effect on sensible surface weather. Together with Olivia Romppainen-Martius and Heini Wernli, I have developed an algorithm which identifies Rossby wave initiation (RWI) events in Re-analysis data, based on geometry changes of upper-level jet waveguides. Using this algorithm, we compiled the first climatology of RWI events on the extratropical jet in the Northern Hemisphere (Figure 1). We now use this climatology to study the dynamical mechanisms which lead to RWI and identify key meteorological ingredients for RWI.

Furthermore, my research focuses on how large-amplitude synoptic-scale Rossby waves affect sensible surface weather such as weather extremes and long-lasting hot, cold, dry and wet spells. Together with Stephan Pfahl and Olivia Romppainen-Martius I have analyzed how regional-scale jet waviness modulates the number and geographical distribution of surface weather extremes (Figure 2). Moreover I am interested in how the frequent re-occurrence of transient Rossby wave patterns can lead to persistent surface weather.

For more information please feel free to contact me or have a look at my publications.

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Pohorsky, Roman; Röthlisberger, Matthias; Grams, Christian M.; Riboldi, Jacopo; Martius, Olivia (2019). The Climatological Impact of Recurving North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones on Downstream Extreme Precipitation Events. Monthly Weather Review, 147(5), pp. 1513-1532. American Meteorological Society 10.1175/MWR-D-18-0195.1


Trefalt, Simona Esther; Martynov, Andrey; Barras, Hélène; Besic, Nikola; Hering, Alessandro M.; Lenggenhager, Sina; Noti, Pascal; Röthlisberger, Matthias; Schemm, Sebastian; Germann, Urs; Martius, Olivia (2018). A severe hail storm in complex topography in Switzerland - Observations and processes. Atmospheric research, 209, pp. 76-94. Elsevier 10.1016/j.atmosres.2018.03.007

Röthlisberger, Matthias; Martius, Olivia; Wernli, Heini (2018). Northern Hemisphere Rossby Wave Initiation Events on the Extratropical Jet—A Climatological Analysis. Journal of Climate, 31(2), pp. 743-760. American Meteorological Society 10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0346.1

Riboldi, Jacopo; Röthlisberger, Matthias; Grams, Christian M. (2018). Rossby Wave Initiation by Recurving Tropical Cyclones in the Western North Pacific. Monthly Weather Review, 146(5), pp. 1283-1301. American Meteorological Society 10.1175/MWR-D-17-0219.1


Röthlisberger, Matthias; Martius, Olivia; Wernli, Heini (2016). An algorithm for identifying the initiation of synoptic-scale Rossby waves on potential vorticity waveguides. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 142(695), pp. 889-900. Royal Meteorological Society 10.1002/qj.2690

Röthlisberger, Matthias; Pfahl, Stephan; Martius, Olivia (2016). Regional-scale jet waviness modulates the occurrence of midlatitude weather extremes. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(20), pp. 989-997. American Geophysical Union 10.1002/2016GL070944



Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland, 02/05/2018
Recurrent synoptic-scale Rossby wave patterns and their effect on the persistence of hot and cold spells, seminar talk

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, 14/03/2018
Northern Hemisphere Rossby wave initiation events on the extratropical jet – climatology and some applications, seminar talk

43rd Northeastern Storm Conference, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA, 10/03/2018
A climatological analysis of Rossby wave initiation on the Northern Hemisphere midlatitude jet, talk

Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, SUNY Albany, State University of New York, USA, 02/03/2018
Northern Hemisphere Rossby wave initiation events on the extratropical jet – climatology and some applications, seminar talk




18th Cyclone Workshop, St Adle, Canada, 01-06/10/2017
Northern Hemisphere Rossby wave initiation events on the extratropical jet – a climatological analysis, talk

University of Reading, United Kingdom, 27/06/2017
Northern Hemisphere Rossby wave initiation events on the extratropical jet – a climatological Analysis, Seminar talk

NAWDEX workshop, LMU Munich, Germany, 08-10/03/2017
Objectives and flight planning of the NAWDEX TPV-flights, talk




15th Swiss Climate Summer School, Grindelwald, Switzerland, 28/08-02/09/2016
Regional-Scale Jet Waviness Modulates the Occurrence of Mid-Latitude Weather Extremes, poster

European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 23-28/04/2016
Detection, Dynamics and Climatology of Rossby Wave Initiation on the Extratropical Waveguide, talk




17th Cyclone Workshop, Pacific Grove CA, USA, 25-30/10/2015
An Algorithm for Identifying the Initiation of Synoptic-Scale Rossby Waves on PV Waveguides, talk

14th Swiss Climate Summer School, Ascona, Switzerland, 24-28/08/2015
A Climatology of Synoptic-Scale Rossby Wave Triggering Events,  poster