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Model Study of Intermediate-Scale Tropical Inertia–Gravity Waves and Comparison to TWP-ICE Campaign Observations

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  • 1 University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 NWRA, CoRA Division, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 3 NCAR, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

A 2-day inertia–gravity wave (IGW) was observed in high-resolution radiosonde soundings of horizontal wind and temperature taken during the 2006 Tropical Warm Pool–International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE) experiment in the Darwin area. The wave was observed in the stratosphere above Darwin from 28 January to 5 February. A similar wave event is observed in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) operational data. A comparison between the characteristics of the IGW derived with the ECMWF data to the properties of the wave derived with the radiosonde data shows that the ECMWF data capture similar structure for this 2-day wave event but with a larger vertical wavelength.

A reverse ray-tracing method is used to localize the source region. Using ECMWF data to define the atmospheric background conditions and wave properties observed in the soundings, it is found that the 2-day wave event originated from deep convection in the Indonesian region around 20 January.

The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) modeling system is used to complement the ECMWF data to assess the influence of vertical resolution and initial conditions on the wave structure. The model domain is configured as a tropical channel and the ECMWF analyses provide the north/south boundaries and initial conditions. WRF is used with the same horizontal resolution (40 km) as the operational ECMWF in 2006 while using a finer vertical grid spacing than ECMWF. The model is run from 18 January to 11 February to cover the wave life cycle. Different experiments are also performed to determine the sensitivity of the wave structure to cumulus schemes, initial conditions, and vertical resolution. The 2-day wave properties resulting from the WRF experiments are compared to those retrieved from the radiosonde data and from the ECMWF analyses. It is demonstrated that higher vertical resolution would be required for ECMWF to accurately resolve the vertical structure of the wave and its effect on the middle-atmospheric circulation.

Corresponding author address: Stephanie Evan, ATOC, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309. E-mail: stephanie.evan@colorado.edu

Abstract

A 2-day inertia–gravity wave (IGW) was observed in high-resolution radiosonde soundings of horizontal wind and temperature taken during the 2006 Tropical Warm Pool–International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE) experiment in the Darwin area. The wave was observed in the stratosphere above Darwin from 28 January to 5 February. A similar wave event is observed in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) operational data. A comparison between the characteristics of the IGW derived with the ECMWF data to the properties of the wave derived with the radiosonde data shows that the ECMWF data capture similar structure for this 2-day wave event but with a larger vertical wavelength.

A reverse ray-tracing method is used to localize the source region. Using ECMWF data to define the atmospheric background conditions and wave properties observed in the soundings, it is found that the 2-day wave event originated from deep convection in the Indonesian region around 20 January.

The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) modeling system is used to complement the ECMWF data to assess the influence of vertical resolution and initial conditions on the wave structure. The model domain is configured as a tropical channel and the ECMWF analyses provide the north/south boundaries and initial conditions. WRF is used with the same horizontal resolution (40 km) as the operational ECMWF in 2006 while using a finer vertical grid spacing than ECMWF. The model is run from 18 January to 11 February to cover the wave life cycle. Different experiments are also performed to determine the sensitivity of the wave structure to cumulus schemes, initial conditions, and vertical resolution. The 2-day wave properties resulting from the WRF experiments are compared to those retrieved from the radiosonde data and from the ECMWF analyses. It is demonstrated that higher vertical resolution would be required for ECMWF to accurately resolve the vertical structure of the wave and its effect on the middle-atmospheric circulation.

Corresponding author address: Stephanie Evan, ATOC, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309. E-mail: stephanie.evan@colorado.edu
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