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Observed and Modeled Mountain Waves from the Surface to the Mesosphere near the Drake Passage

Christopher G. KruseaNorthWest Research Associates, Boulder, Colorado

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M. Joan AlexanderaNorthWest Research Associates, Boulder, Colorado

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Lars HoffmannbJülich Supercomputing Centre, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany

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Annelize van NiekerkcMet Office, Exeter, United Kingdom

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Inna PolichtchoukdECMWF, Reading, United Kingdom

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Julio T. BacmeistereClimate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, NCAR, Boulder, Colorado

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Laura HoltaNorthWest Research Associates, Boulder, Colorado

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Riwal PlougonvenfLaboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France

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Petr ŠáchagDepartment of Atmospheric Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
hInstitute of Meteorology and Climatology (BOKU), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Vienna, Austria

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Corwin WrightiCentre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom

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Kaoru SatojDepartment of Earth and Planetary Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

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Ryosuke ShibuyakAtmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan

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Sonja GisingerlInstitute of Atmospheric Physics, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

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Manfred ErnmInstitut für Energie- und Klimaforschung–Stratosphäre (IEK-7), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany

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Catrin I. MeyerbJülich Supercomputing Centre, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany

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Olaf SteinbJülich Supercomputing Centre, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany

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Abstract

Four state-of-the-science numerical weather prediction (NWP) models were used to perform mountain wave (MW)-resolving hindcasts over the Drake Passage of a 10-day period in 2010 with numerous observed MW cases. The Integrated Forecast System (IFS) and the Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic (ICON) model were run at Δx ≈ 9 and 13 km globally. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and the Met Office Unified Model (UM) were both configured with a Δx = 3-km regional domain. All domains had tops near 1 Pa (z ≈ 80 km). These deep domains allowed quantitative validation against Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) observations, accounting for observation time, viewing geometry, and radiative transfer. All models reproduced observed middle-atmosphere MWs with remarkable skill. Increased horizontal resolution improved validations. Still, all models underrepresented observed MW amplitudes, even after accounting for model effective resolution and instrument noise, suggesting even at Δx ≈ 3-km resolution, small-scale MWs are underresolved and/or overdiffused. MW drag parameterizations are still necessary in NWP models at current operational resolutions of Δx ≈ 10 km. Upper GW sponge layers in the operationally configured models significantly, artificially reduced MW amplitudes in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere. In the IFS, parameterized GW drags partly compensated this deficiency, but still, total drags were ≈6 times smaller than that resolved at Δx ≈ 3 km. Meridionally propagating MWs significantly enhance zonal drag over the Drake Passage. Interestingly, drag associated with meridional fluxes of zonal momentum (i.e., uυ¯) were important; not accounting for these terms results in a drag in the wrong direction at and below the polar night jet.

Significance Statement

This study had three purposes: to quantitatively evaluate how well four state-of-the-science weather models could reproduce observed mountain waves (MWs) in the middle atmosphere, to compare the simulated MWs within the models, and to quantitatively evaluate two MW parameterizations in a widely used climate model. These models reproduced observed MWs with remarkable skill. Still, MW parameterizations are necessary in current Δx ≈ 10-km resolution global weather models. Even Δx ≈ 3-km resolution does not appear to be high enough to represent all momentum-fluxing MW scales. Meridionally propagating MWs can significantly influence zonal winds over the Drake Passage. Parameterizations that handle horizontal propagation may need to consider horizontal fluxes of horizontal momentum in order to get the direction of their forcing correct.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Publisher's Note: This article was revised on 7 April 2022 to identify it as being part of the Multi-Scale Dynamics of Gravity Waves (MS-GWaves) special collection.

This article is included in the Multi-Scale Dynamics of Gravity Waves (MS-GWaves) Special Collection.

Corresponding author: Christopher G. Kruse, ckruse@nwra.com

Abstract

Four state-of-the-science numerical weather prediction (NWP) models were used to perform mountain wave (MW)-resolving hindcasts over the Drake Passage of a 10-day period in 2010 with numerous observed MW cases. The Integrated Forecast System (IFS) and the Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic (ICON) model were run at Δx ≈ 9 and 13 km globally. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and the Met Office Unified Model (UM) were both configured with a Δx = 3-km regional domain. All domains had tops near 1 Pa (z ≈ 80 km). These deep domains allowed quantitative validation against Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) observations, accounting for observation time, viewing geometry, and radiative transfer. All models reproduced observed middle-atmosphere MWs with remarkable skill. Increased horizontal resolution improved validations. Still, all models underrepresented observed MW amplitudes, even after accounting for model effective resolution and instrument noise, suggesting even at Δx ≈ 3-km resolution, small-scale MWs are underresolved and/or overdiffused. MW drag parameterizations are still necessary in NWP models at current operational resolutions of Δx ≈ 10 km. Upper GW sponge layers in the operationally configured models significantly, artificially reduced MW amplitudes in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere. In the IFS, parameterized GW drags partly compensated this deficiency, but still, total drags were ≈6 times smaller than that resolved at Δx ≈ 3 km. Meridionally propagating MWs significantly enhance zonal drag over the Drake Passage. Interestingly, drag associated with meridional fluxes of zonal momentum (i.e., uυ¯) were important; not accounting for these terms results in a drag in the wrong direction at and below the polar night jet.

Significance Statement

This study had three purposes: to quantitatively evaluate how well four state-of-the-science weather models could reproduce observed mountain waves (MWs) in the middle atmosphere, to compare the simulated MWs within the models, and to quantitatively evaluate two MW parameterizations in a widely used climate model. These models reproduced observed MWs with remarkable skill. Still, MW parameterizations are necessary in current Δx ≈ 10-km resolution global weather models. Even Δx ≈ 3-km resolution does not appear to be high enough to represent all momentum-fluxing MW scales. Meridionally propagating MWs can significantly influence zonal winds over the Drake Passage. Parameterizations that handle horizontal propagation may need to consider horizontal fluxes of horizontal momentum in order to get the direction of their forcing correct.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Publisher's Note: This article was revised on 7 April 2022 to identify it as being part of the Multi-Scale Dynamics of Gravity Waves (MS-GWaves) special collection.

This article is included in the Multi-Scale Dynamics of Gravity Waves (MS-GWaves) Special Collection.

Corresponding author: Christopher G. Kruse, ckruse@nwra.com

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