The zonally asymmetric climatology of the tropical large-scale motion field is an interesting GARP topic. Understanding of the maintenance of various quasi-stationary features will be a challenging problem during the FGGE (the First GARP Global Experiment) and Monex (the Monsoon Experiment). In this paper we present some current thoughts that are relevant to the climatology of the tropical upper troposphere during the northern summer.
A review of some of the results from various numerical general circulation models and theoretical studies is presented for northern summer conditions. The relative success or failure of simulations of 200-mb climatology is discussed. It is pointed out that a proper simulation of the belt of anticyclones over the Asian highlands is somewhat crucial for a proper simulation of the summer climatology over the rest of the tropics.
Observations of the semipermanence of the Tibetan high pressure cell during northern summer at 200 mb suggests that it acts somewhat like a barrier. In order to illustrate this we consider a problem related to the evolution of barotropic non-divergent flows past a barrier. The flows are initially zonal, with speeds varying in the north-south direction according to northern summer observations. The barrier, whose shape is based on observations of a blocking thermal high, is impulsively introduced at initial time. The flows are kept zonal at frictionless walls at 25S and 45N. The initial north-south distribution of the zonal flows is shown to have no inflection point in its profile, thus it does not satisfy the necessary condition for barotropic instability. The presence of an impulsively introduced barrier, however, results in the evolution of transient as well as steady wave motions in long term numerical integrations. It is shown that a 30-day mean motion field contains many of the well known climatological features such as the African high, the mid-Atlantic trough, the mid-Pacific trough, the Mexican high and a weak easterly jet south of the Tibetan high. Calculations of kinetic energy exchanges between waves and zonal flow in this simple experiment is compared with corresponding calculations for tropical observations and recent general circulation experiments carried out by Abbott. The impulsively introduced barrier simulates an energy source for zonal wavenumber 1, quite similar to observations in a tropical belt. Although this experiment is fairly crude, it is found to be very illustrative in many respects. Many diverse experiments along these lines can be carried out to reveal various aspects of atmospheric circulations.
1 Present affiliation: National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo. 80302.
2 Present affiliation: Department of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla. 73069.