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Characteristics of Wave Packets in the Upper Troposphere. Part II: Seasonal and Hemispheric Variations

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  • 1 Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Abstract

Gridded 300-hPa meridional wind data produced by the ECMWF reanalysis project were analyzed to document the seasonal and hemispheric variations in the properties of upper-tropospheric wave packets. The properties of the wave packets are mainly illustrated using time-lagged one-point correlation maps performed on υ′. Based on indices that show the coherence of wave propagation, as well as examination of correlation maps, schematic waveguides were constructed for the summer and winter seasons of both hemispheres along which waves preferentially propagate with greatest coherence. In the summers, the waveguides basically follow the position of the midlatitude jets. In the Northern Hemisphere winter, the primary waveguide follows the subtropical jet over southern Asia into the Pacific, but there is a secondary branch running across Russia, joining the primary waveguide near the entrance to the Pacific storm track. Over the Atlantic, the waveguide passes east-southeastward toward North Africa, then back to southern Asia. During the Southern Hemisphere winter, the primary waveguide splits in two around 70°E, with the primary (more coherent) branch deviating equatorward to join up with the subtropical waveguide, and a secondary branch spiraling poleward along with the subpolar jet and storm track maxima. Wave packet envelopes were also defined and group velocities of wave packets were computed based on correlations performed on packet envelopes. These group velocities were found to agree qualitatively with those defined previously based on wave activity fluxes.

By examining the wave coherence indices, as well as individual correlation maps and Hovmöller diagrams of correlations computed along the primary waveguides, it was concluded that wave propagation is least coherent in Northern Hemisphere summer, and that waves in Southern Hemisphere summer are not necessarily more coherent than those in Southern Hemisphere winter. Data from a GCM experiment were also analyzed and showed that wave packets in the GCM also display such a seasonal variation in coherence. Results from experiments using an idealized model suggest that coherence of wave packets depends not only on the baroclinicity of the large-scale flow, but also on the intensity of the Hadley circulation, which acts to tighten the upper-tropospheric potential vorticity gradient.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Edmund K. Chang, Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 54-1614, Cambridge, MA 02139.

Email: echang@mit.edu

Abstract

Gridded 300-hPa meridional wind data produced by the ECMWF reanalysis project were analyzed to document the seasonal and hemispheric variations in the properties of upper-tropospheric wave packets. The properties of the wave packets are mainly illustrated using time-lagged one-point correlation maps performed on υ′. Based on indices that show the coherence of wave propagation, as well as examination of correlation maps, schematic waveguides were constructed for the summer and winter seasons of both hemispheres along which waves preferentially propagate with greatest coherence. In the summers, the waveguides basically follow the position of the midlatitude jets. In the Northern Hemisphere winter, the primary waveguide follows the subtropical jet over southern Asia into the Pacific, but there is a secondary branch running across Russia, joining the primary waveguide near the entrance to the Pacific storm track. Over the Atlantic, the waveguide passes east-southeastward toward North Africa, then back to southern Asia. During the Southern Hemisphere winter, the primary waveguide splits in two around 70°E, with the primary (more coherent) branch deviating equatorward to join up with the subtropical waveguide, and a secondary branch spiraling poleward along with the subpolar jet and storm track maxima. Wave packet envelopes were also defined and group velocities of wave packets were computed based on correlations performed on packet envelopes. These group velocities were found to agree qualitatively with those defined previously based on wave activity fluxes.

By examining the wave coherence indices, as well as individual correlation maps and Hovmöller diagrams of correlations computed along the primary waveguides, it was concluded that wave propagation is least coherent in Northern Hemisphere summer, and that waves in Southern Hemisphere summer are not necessarily more coherent than those in Southern Hemisphere winter. Data from a GCM experiment were also analyzed and showed that wave packets in the GCM also display such a seasonal variation in coherence. Results from experiments using an idealized model suggest that coherence of wave packets depends not only on the baroclinicity of the large-scale flow, but also on the intensity of the Hadley circulation, which acts to tighten the upper-tropospheric potential vorticity gradient.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Edmund K. Chang, Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 54-1614, Cambridge, MA 02139.

Email: echang@mit.edu

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