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A Diagnostic Study of Waves on the Tropopause

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  • 1 National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2 Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

The spatial structure and phase velocity of tropopause disturbances localized around the subpolar jet in the Southern Hemisphere are investigated using 6-hourly European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts reanalysis data covering 15 yr (1979–93). The phase velocity and phase structure of the tropopause disturbances are in good agreement with those of an edge wave vertically trapped at the tropopause. However, the vertical distribution of the ratio of potential to kinetic energy exhibits maxima above and below the tropopause and a minimum around the tropopause, in contradiction to edge wave theory for which the ratio is unity throughout the troposphere and stratosphere. This difference in vertical structure between the observed tropopause disturbances and edge wave theory is attributed to the effects of a finite-depth tropopause together with the next-order corrections in Rossby number to quasigeostrophic dynamics.

* Current affiliation: Department of Earth and Planetary Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yoshihiro Tomikawa, Polar Meteorology and Glaciology Group, National Institute of Polar Research, 1-9-10 Kaga, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8515, Japan. Email: tomikawa@nipr.ac.jp

Abstract

The spatial structure and phase velocity of tropopause disturbances localized around the subpolar jet in the Southern Hemisphere are investigated using 6-hourly European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts reanalysis data covering 15 yr (1979–93). The phase velocity and phase structure of the tropopause disturbances are in good agreement with those of an edge wave vertically trapped at the tropopause. However, the vertical distribution of the ratio of potential to kinetic energy exhibits maxima above and below the tropopause and a minimum around the tropopause, in contradiction to edge wave theory for which the ratio is unity throughout the troposphere and stratosphere. This difference in vertical structure between the observed tropopause disturbances and edge wave theory is attributed to the effects of a finite-depth tropopause together with the next-order corrections in Rossby number to quasigeostrophic dynamics.

* Current affiliation: Department of Earth and Planetary Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Corresponding author address: Dr. Yoshihiro Tomikawa, Polar Meteorology and Glaciology Group, National Institute of Polar Research, 1-9-10 Kaga, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8515, Japan. Email: tomikawa@nipr.ac.jp

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