Abstract

The divergent barotropic instability of a zonally averaged, observed, tropical, upper tropospheric, monsoon easterly jet is investigated by numerical integration of a linear spectral model. The Rossby radius of deformation for the upper troposphere is computed from a three-layer model of the atmosphere. It is shown that the antisymmetric zonal flow components in the jet contribute in stabilizing the short waves and destabilizing the long waves. Furthermore, the maximum amplitude of the asymmetric preferred wave is shifted southward (to 6°N) to a region where a largest positive maximum of −ūvv is located for the asymmetric profile. A large decrease in the meridional scale of the wave and a threefold increase in the ratio of the computed maximum southward-to-northward easterly momentum transports is also found for the asymmetric jet compared to the symmetric jet. The divergence is found to increase the growth rates of all the waves and, also to increase the preferred wavelength.

The most unstable divergent asymmetric wave is shown to have a wavelength of 6500 km, an e-folding time of 6.5 days and a westward phase speed of 23.5 m s−1. The zonal scale of the preferred wave is nearly equal to the Rossby radius of deformation.

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