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Convectively Coupled Kelvin Waves: From Linear Theory to Global Models

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  • 1 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico
  • | 2 University of Split, Split, Croatia
  • | 3 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico
  • | 4 European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The authors analyze composite structures of tropical convectively coupled Kelvin waves (CCKWs) in terms of the theory of Raymond and Fuchs using radiosonde data, 3D analysis and reanalysis model output, and annual integrations with the ECMWF model on the full planet and on an aquaplanet. Precipitation anomalies are estimated using the NOAA interpolated OLR and TRMM 3B42 datasets, as well as using model OLR and rainfall diagnostics. Derived variables from these datasets are used to examine assumptions of the theory. Large-scale characteristics of wave phenomena are robust in all datasets and models where Kelvin wave variance is large. Indices from the theory representing column moisture and convective inhibition are also robust. The results suggest that the CCKW is highly dependent on convective inhibition, while column moisture does not play an important role.

Corresponding author address: Michael J. Herman, Physics Department, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801. E-mail: mherman@nmt.edu

Abstract

The authors analyze composite structures of tropical convectively coupled Kelvin waves (CCKWs) in terms of the theory of Raymond and Fuchs using radiosonde data, 3D analysis and reanalysis model output, and annual integrations with the ECMWF model on the full planet and on an aquaplanet. Precipitation anomalies are estimated using the NOAA interpolated OLR and TRMM 3B42 datasets, as well as using model OLR and rainfall diagnostics. Derived variables from these datasets are used to examine assumptions of the theory. Large-scale characteristics of wave phenomena are robust in all datasets and models where Kelvin wave variance is large. Indices from the theory representing column moisture and convective inhibition are also robust. The results suggest that the CCKW is highly dependent on convective inhibition, while column moisture does not play an important role.

Corresponding author address: Michael J. Herman, Physics Department, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801. E-mail: mherman@nmt.edu
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