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The Relationship between Equatorial Mixed Rossby–Gravity and Eastward Inertio-Gravity Waves. Part I

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  • 1 Physical Sciences Division, NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • 2 CIRES, University of Colorado Boulder, and NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The relationship between n = 0 mixed Rossby–gravity waves (MRGs) and eastward inertio-gravity waves (EIGs) from Matsuno’s shallow-water theory on an equatorial beta plane is studied using statistics of satellite brightness temperature Tb and dynamical fields from ERA-Interim data. Unlike other observed convectively coupled equatorial waves, which have spectral signals well separated into eastward and westward modes, there is a continuum of MRG–EIG power standing above the background that peaks near wavenumber 0. This continuum is also present in the signals of dry stratospheric MRGs. While hundreds of papers have been written on MRGs, very little work on EIGs has appeared in the literature to date. The authors attribute this to the fact that EIG circulations are much weaker than those of MRGs for a given amount of divergence, making them more difficult to observe even though they strongly modulate convection.

Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and cross-spectral analysis of 2–6-day-filtered Tb isolate zonally standing modes of synoptic-scale convection originally identified by Wallace in 1971. These display antisymmetric Tb signals about the equator that propagate poleward with a period of around 4 days, along with westward-propagating MRG-like circulations that move through the Tb patterns. Further analysis here and in Part II shows that these signatures are not artifacts of the EOF approach but result from a mixture of MRG or EIG modes occurring either in isolation or at the same time.

Corresponding author address: George N. Kiladis, Physical Sciences Division, ESRL, 325 Broadway St., Boulder, CO 80305-3328. E-mail: george.kiladis@noaa.gov

Abstract

The relationship between n = 0 mixed Rossby–gravity waves (MRGs) and eastward inertio-gravity waves (EIGs) from Matsuno’s shallow-water theory on an equatorial beta plane is studied using statistics of satellite brightness temperature Tb and dynamical fields from ERA-Interim data. Unlike other observed convectively coupled equatorial waves, which have spectral signals well separated into eastward and westward modes, there is a continuum of MRG–EIG power standing above the background that peaks near wavenumber 0. This continuum is also present in the signals of dry stratospheric MRGs. While hundreds of papers have been written on MRGs, very little work on EIGs has appeared in the literature to date. The authors attribute this to the fact that EIG circulations are much weaker than those of MRGs for a given amount of divergence, making them more difficult to observe even though they strongly modulate convection.

Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and cross-spectral analysis of 2–6-day-filtered Tb isolate zonally standing modes of synoptic-scale convection originally identified by Wallace in 1971. These display antisymmetric Tb signals about the equator that propagate poleward with a period of around 4 days, along with westward-propagating MRG-like circulations that move through the Tb patterns. Further analysis here and in Part II shows that these signatures are not artifacts of the EOF approach but result from a mixture of MRG or EIG modes occurring either in isolation or at the same time.

Corresponding author address: George N. Kiladis, Physical Sciences Division, ESRL, 325 Broadway St., Boulder, CO 80305-3328. E-mail: george.kiladis@noaa.gov
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