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Poleward Stationary Eddy Heat Transport by the Tibetan Plateau and Equatorward Shift of Westerlies during Northern Winter

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  • 1 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
  • | 2 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, and International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • | 3 Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
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Abstract

The orographic effect of the Tibetan Plateau on atmospheric poleward heat transport is investigated using an atmospheric general circulation model. The linear interference between the Tibetan Plateau–induced winds and the eddy temperature field associated with the land–sea thermal contrast is a key factor for enhancing the poleward stationary eddy heat transport. Specifically, Tibetan Plateau–induced stationary waves produce northerlies over the cold eastern Eurasian continent, leading to a poleward heat transport. In another hot spot of stationary eddy heat transport over the eastern North Pacific, Tibetan Plateau–induced stationary waves transport relatively warm marine air northward.

In an experiment where the Tibetan Plateau is removed, the poleward heat transport is mostly accomplished by transient eddies, similar to the Southern Hemisphere. In the presence of the Tibetan Plateau, the enhanced stationary eddy heat transport is offset by a comparable reduction in transient eddy heat transport. This compensation between stationary and transient eddy heat transport is seen in observed interannual variability. Both the model and observations indicate that an enhanced poleward heat transport by stationary waves weakens transient eddies by decreasing the meridional temperature gradient and the associated westerlies in midlatitudes.

International Pacific Research Center Publication Number 985 and School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Publication Number 8945.

Corresponding author address: Hyo-Seok Park, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, MC 230, La Jolla, CA 92093. E-mail: hsp012@ucsd.edu

Abstract

The orographic effect of the Tibetan Plateau on atmospheric poleward heat transport is investigated using an atmospheric general circulation model. The linear interference between the Tibetan Plateau–induced winds and the eddy temperature field associated with the land–sea thermal contrast is a key factor for enhancing the poleward stationary eddy heat transport. Specifically, Tibetan Plateau–induced stationary waves produce northerlies over the cold eastern Eurasian continent, leading to a poleward heat transport. In another hot spot of stationary eddy heat transport over the eastern North Pacific, Tibetan Plateau–induced stationary waves transport relatively warm marine air northward.

In an experiment where the Tibetan Plateau is removed, the poleward heat transport is mostly accomplished by transient eddies, similar to the Southern Hemisphere. In the presence of the Tibetan Plateau, the enhanced stationary eddy heat transport is offset by a comparable reduction in transient eddy heat transport. This compensation between stationary and transient eddy heat transport is seen in observed interannual variability. Both the model and observations indicate that an enhanced poleward heat transport by stationary waves weakens transient eddies by decreasing the meridional temperature gradient and the associated westerlies in midlatitudes.

International Pacific Research Center Publication Number 985 and School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Publication Number 8945.

Corresponding author address: Hyo-Seok Park, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, MC 230, La Jolla, CA 92093. E-mail: hsp012@ucsd.edu
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