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The Implications of Tropical Rossby Waves for Tropical Tropopause Cirrus Formation and for the Equatorial Upwelling of the Brewer–Dobson Circulation

Matthew T. BoehmDepartment of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

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Sukyoung LeeDepartment of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

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Abstract

This study puts forward a mechanism for the observed upwelling in the tropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. In this hypothesis, the tropical upwelling is driven by momentum transport by Rossby waves that are generated by tropical convection. To test this hypothesis, model runs are conducted using an axisymmetric, global, primitive equation model. In these runs, the effect of Rossby waves is included by driving the model with observed fields of large-scale eddy momentum flux convergence. The resulting overturning circulation includes both meridional flow from the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) to the equator and rising motion in the tropical tropopause transition layer (TTL). This circulation therefore helps to explain the transport of moisture from the lower portion of the TTL in the ITCZ to the equatorial cold-point tropopause, where tropopause cirrus layers frequently occur.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Matthew T. Boehm, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 912, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: boehm@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

Abstract

This study puts forward a mechanism for the observed upwelling in the tropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. In this hypothesis, the tropical upwelling is driven by momentum transport by Rossby waves that are generated by tropical convection. To test this hypothesis, model runs are conducted using an axisymmetric, global, primitive equation model. In these runs, the effect of Rossby waves is included by driving the model with observed fields of large-scale eddy momentum flux convergence. The resulting overturning circulation includes both meridional flow from the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) to the equator and rising motion in the tropical tropopause transition layer (TTL). This circulation therefore helps to explain the transport of moisture from the lower portion of the TTL in the ITCZ to the equatorial cold-point tropopause, where tropopause cirrus layers frequently occur.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Matthew T. Boehm, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 912, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: boehm@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

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