Diurnal and Semidiurnal Tides in Global Surface Pressure Fields

Aiguo Dai National Center for Atmospheric Research, *Boulder, Colorado

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Junhong Wang Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Global surface pressure data from 1976 to 1997 from over 7500 land stations and the Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set have been analyzed using harmonic and zonal harmonic methods. It is found that the diurnal pressure oscillation (S1) is comparable to the semidiurnal pressure oscillation (S2) in magnitude over much of the globe except for the low-latitude open oceans, where S2 is about twice as strong as S1. Over many land areas, such as the western United States, the Tibetan Plateau, and eastern Africa, S1 is even stronger than S2. This is in contrast to the conventional notion that S2 predominates over much of the globe. The highest amplitudes (∼1.3 mb) of S1 are found over northern South America and eastern Africa close to the equator. Here S1 is also strong (∼1.1 mb) over high terrain such as the Rockies and the Tibetan Plateau. The largest amplitudes of S2 (∼1.0–1.3 mb) are in the Tropics over South America, the eastern and western Pacific, and the Indian Ocean. Here S1 peaks around 0600–0800 LST at low latitudes and around 1000–1200 LST over most of midlatitudes, while S2 peaks around 1000 and 2200 LST over low- and midlatitudes. Here S1 is much stronger over the land than over the ocean and its amplitude distribution is strongly influenced by landmasses, while the land–sea differences of S2 are small. The spatial variations of S1 correlate significantly with spatial variations in the diurnal temperature range at the surface, suggesting that sensible heating from the ground is a major forcing for S1. Although S2 is much more homogeneous zonally than S1, there are considerable zonal variations in the amplitude of S2, which cannot be explained by zonal variations in ozone and water vapor. Other forcings such as those through clouds’ reflection and absorption of solar radiation and latent heating in convective precipitation are needed to explain the observed regional and zonal variations in S2. The migrating tides S11 and S22 predominate over other zonal wave components. However, the nonmigrating tides are substantially stronger than previously reported. The amplitudes of both the migrating and nonmigrating tides decrease rapidly poleward with a slower pace at middle and high latitudes.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Aiguo Dai, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.

Email: adai@ucar.edu

Abstract

Global surface pressure data from 1976 to 1997 from over 7500 land stations and the Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set have been analyzed using harmonic and zonal harmonic methods. It is found that the diurnal pressure oscillation (S1) is comparable to the semidiurnal pressure oscillation (S2) in magnitude over much of the globe except for the low-latitude open oceans, where S2 is about twice as strong as S1. Over many land areas, such as the western United States, the Tibetan Plateau, and eastern Africa, S1 is even stronger than S2. This is in contrast to the conventional notion that S2 predominates over much of the globe. The highest amplitudes (∼1.3 mb) of S1 are found over northern South America and eastern Africa close to the equator. Here S1 is also strong (∼1.1 mb) over high terrain such as the Rockies and the Tibetan Plateau. The largest amplitudes of S2 (∼1.0–1.3 mb) are in the Tropics over South America, the eastern and western Pacific, and the Indian Ocean. Here S1 peaks around 0600–0800 LST at low latitudes and around 1000–1200 LST over most of midlatitudes, while S2 peaks around 1000 and 2200 LST over low- and midlatitudes. Here S1 is much stronger over the land than over the ocean and its amplitude distribution is strongly influenced by landmasses, while the land–sea differences of S2 are small. The spatial variations of S1 correlate significantly with spatial variations in the diurnal temperature range at the surface, suggesting that sensible heating from the ground is a major forcing for S1. Although S2 is much more homogeneous zonally than S1, there are considerable zonal variations in the amplitude of S2, which cannot be explained by zonal variations in ozone and water vapor. Other forcings such as those through clouds’ reflection and absorption of solar radiation and latent heating in convective precipitation are needed to explain the observed regional and zonal variations in S2. The migrating tides S11 and S22 predominate over other zonal wave components. However, the nonmigrating tides are substantially stronger than previously reported. The amplitudes of both the migrating and nonmigrating tides decrease rapidly poleward with a slower pace at middle and high latitudes.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Aiguo Dai, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.

Email: adai@ucar.edu

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