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Chris Snyder
,
David J. Muraki
,
Riwal Plougonven
, and
Fuqing Zhang

Abstract

Vortex dipoles provide a simple representation of localized atmospheric jets. Numerical simulations of a synoptic-scale dipole in surface potential temperature are considered in a rotating, stratified fluid with approximately uniform potential vorticity. Following an initial period of adjustment, the dipole propagates along a slightly curved trajectory at a nearly steady rate and with a nearly fixed structure for more than 50 days. Downstream from the jet maximum, the flow also contains smaller-scale, upward-propagating inertia–gravity waves that are embedded within and stationary relative to the dipole. The waves form elongated bows along the leading edge of the dipole. Consistent with propagation in horizontal deformation and vertical shear, the waves’ horizontal scale shrinks and the vertical slope varies as they approach the leading stagnation point in the dipole’s flow. Because the waves persist for tens of days despite explicit dissipation in the numerical model that would otherwise damp the waves on a time scale of a few hours, they must be inherent features of the dipole itself, rather than remnants of imbalances in the initial conditions. The wave amplitude varies with the strength of the dipole, with waves becoming obvious once the maximum vertical vorticity in the dipole is roughly half the Coriolis parameter. Possible mechanisms for the wave generation are spontaneous wave emission and the instability of the underlying balanced dipole.

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Mohammad Mirzaei
,
Ali R. Mohebalhojeh
,
Christoph Zülicke
, and
Riwal Plougonven

Abstract

Quantification of inertia–gravity waves (IGWs) generated by upper-level jet–surface front systems and their parameterization in global models of the atmosphere relies on suitable methods to estimate the strength of IGWs. A harmonic divergence analysis (HDA) that has been previously employed for quantification of IGWs combines wave properties from linear dynamics with a sophisticated statistical analysis to provide such estimates. A question of fundamental importance that arises is how the measures of IGW activity provided by the HDA are related to the measures coming from the wave–vortex decomposition (WVD) methods. The question is addressed by employing the nonlinear balance relations of the first-order δγ, the Bolin–Charney, and the first- to third-order Rossby number expansion to carry out WVD. The global kinetic energy of IGWs given by the HDA and WVD are compared in numerical simulations of moist baroclinic waves by the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model in a channel on the f plane. The estimates of the HDA are found to be 2–3 times smaller than those of the optimal WVD. This is in part due to the absence of a well-defined scale separation between the waves and vortical flows, the IGW estimates by the HDA capturing only the dominant wave packets and with limited scales. It is also shown that the difference between the HDA and WVD estimates is related to the width of the IGW spectrum.

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Mozhgan Amiramjadi
,
Riwal Plougonven
,
Ali R. Mohebalhojeh
, and
Mohammad Mirzaei

Abstract

Machine learning (ML) provides a powerful tool for investigating the relationship between the large-scale flow and unresolved processes, which need to be parameterized in climate models. The current work explores the performance of the random forest regressor (RF) as a nonparametric model in the reconstruction of nonorographic gravity waves (GWs) over midlatitude oceanic areas. The ERA5 dataset from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model outputs is employed in its full resolution to derive GW variations in the lower stratosphere. Coarse-grained variables in a column-based configuration of the atmosphere are used to reconstruct the GWs variability at the target level. The first important outcome is the relative success in reconstructing the GW signal (coefficient of determination R 2 ≈ 0.85 for “E3” combination). The second outcome is that the most informative explanatory variable is the local background wind speed. This questions the traditional framework of gravity wave parameterizations, for which, at these heights, one would expect more sensitivity to sources below than to local flow. Finally, to test the efficiency of a relatively simple, parametric statistical model, the efficiency of linear regression was compared to that of random forests with a restricted set of only five explanatory variables. Results were poor. Increasing the number of input variables to 15 hardly changes the performance of the linear regression (R 2 changes slightly from 0.18 to 0.21), while it leads to better results with the random forests (R 2 increases from 0.29 to 0.37).

Open access
Mahnoosh Haghighatnasab
,
Mohammad Mirzaei
,
Ali R. Mohebalhojeh
,
Christoph Zülicke
, and
Riwal Plougonven

Abstract

The parameterization of inertia–gravity waves (IGWs) is of considerable importance in general circulation models. Among the challenging issues faced in studies concerned with parameterization of IGWs is the estimation of diabatic forcing in a way independent of the physics parameterization schemes, in particular, convection. The requirement is to estimate the diabatic heating associated with balanced motion. This can be done by comparing estimates of balanced vertical motion with and without diabatic effects. The omega equation provides the natural method of estimating balanced vertical motion without diabatic effects, and several methods for including diabatic effects are compared. To this end, the assumption of spatial-scale separation between IGWs and balanced flows is combined with a suitable form of the balanced omega equation. To test the methods constructed for estimating diabatic heating, an idealized numerical simulation of the moist baroclinic waves is performed using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model in a channel on the f plane. In overall agreement with the diabatic heating of the WRF Model, in the omega-equation-based estimates, the maxima of heating appear in the warm sector of the baroclinic wave and in the exit region of the upper-level jet. The omega-equation-based method with spatial smoothing for estimating balanced vertical motion is thus presented as the proper way to evaluate diabatic forcing for parameterization of IGWs.

Free access
Todd P. Lane
,
James D. Doyle
,
Riwal Plougonven
,
Melvyn A. Shapiro
, and
Robert D. Sharman

Abstract

The characteristics and dynamics of inertia–gravity waves generated in the vicinity of an intense jet stream/ upper-level frontal system on 18 February 2001 are investigated using observations from the NOAA Gulfstream-IV research aircraft and numerical simulations. Aircraft dropsonde observations and numerical simulations elucidate the detailed mesoscale structure of this system, including its associated inertia–gravity waves and clear-air turbulence. Results from a multiply nested numerical model show inertia–gravity wave development above the developing jet/front system. These inertia–gravity waves propagate through the highly sheared flow above the jet stream, perturb the background wind shear and stability, and create bands of reduced and increased Richardson numbers. These bands of reduced Richardson numbers are regions of likely Kelvin–Helmholtz instability and a possible source of the clear-air turbulence that was observed.

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Mohammad Mirzaei
,
Christoph Zülicke
,
Ali R. Mohebalhojeh
,
Farhang Ahmadi-Givi
, and
Riwal Plougonven

Abstract

The impact of moisture on inertia–gravity wave generation is assessed for an idealized unstable baroclinic wave using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) in a channel on the f plane. The evolution of these waves in a moist simulation is compared with a dry simulation. The centers of action for inertia–gravity wave activity are identified as the equatorward-moving upper-level front and the poleward-progressing upper-level jet–surface front system. Four stratospheric wave packets are found, which are significantly more intense in the moist simulation and have slightly higher frequency. They are characterized by their structure and position during the baroclinic wave life cycle and are related to forcing terms in jet, front, and convection systems.

By exploring the time series of mass and energy, it is shown that the release of latent heat leads to a change in enthalpy, an increase in the eddy kinetic energy, and an intensification of the inertia–gravity wave energy. The ratio of the inertia–gravity wave energy to the eddy kinetic energy is estimated to be about 1/200 for the moist simulation, which is 3 times larger than that for the dry simulation. An empirical parameterization scheme for the inertia–gravity wave energy is proposed, based on the fast large-scale ageostrophic flow associated with the jet, front, and convection. The diagnosed stratospheric inertia–gravity wave energy is well captured by this parameterization in six WRF simulations with different moisture and resolutions. The approach used to construct the parameterization may serve as a starting point for state-dependent nonorographic gravity wave drag schemes in general circulation models.

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Valérian Jewtoukoff
,
Albert Hertzog
,
Riwal Plougonven
,
Alvaro de la Cámara
, and
François Lott

Abstract

The increase of spatial resolution allows the ECMWF operational model to explicitly resolve a significant portion of the atmospheric gravity wave (GW) field, but the realism of the simulated GW field in the ECMWF analyses still needs to be precisely evaluated. Here the authors use data collected during the Concordiasi stratospheric balloon campaign to assess the representation of GWs in the ECMWF analyses over Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in spring 2010. The authors first compare the balloonborne GW momentum fluxes with those in ECMWF analyses throughout the campaign and find a correct agreement of the geographical and seasonal patterns. However, the authors also note that ECMWF analyses generally underestimate the balloon fluxes by a factor of 5, which may be essentially due to the spatial truncation of the ECMWF model. Intermittency of wave activity in the analyses and observations are found comparable. These results are confirmed on two case studies dealing with orographic and nonorographic waves, which thus supports that the ECMWF analyses can be used to study the geographical and seasonal distribution of GW momentum fluxes. The authors then used both datasets to provide insights on the missing GW drag at 60°S in general circulation models in the Southern Hemisphere spring. These datasets suggest that a significant part of the missing drag may be associated with nonorographic GWs generated by weather systems above the Southern Ocean.

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Alvaro de la Cámara
,
François Lott
,
Valérian Jewtoukoff
,
Riwal Plougonven
, and
Albert Hertzog

Abstract

The austral stratospheric final warming date is often predicted with substantial delay in several climate models. This systematic error is generally attributed to insufficient parameterized gravity wave (GW) drag in the stratosphere around 60°S. A simulation with a general circulation model [Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique zoom model (LMDZ)] with a much less pronounced bias is used to analyze the contribution of the different types of waves to the dynamics of the final warming. For this purpose, the resolved and unresolved wave forcing of the middle atmosphere during the austral spring are examined in LMDZ and reanalysis data, and a good agreement is found between the two datasets. The role of parameterized orographic and nonorographic GWs in LMDZ is further examined, and it is found that orographic and nonorographic GWs contribute evenly to the GW forcing in the stratosphere, unlike in other climate models, where orographic GWs are the main contributor. This result is shown to be in good agreement with GW-resolving operational analysis products. It is demonstrated that the significant contribution of the nonorographic GWs is due to highly intermittent momentum fluxes produced by the source-related parameterizations used in LMDZ, in qualitative agreement with recent observations. This yields sporadic high-amplitude GWs that break in the stratosphere and force the circulation at lower altitudes than more homogeneously distributed nonorographic GW parameterizations do.

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Riwal Plougonven
,
Valérian Jewtoukoff
,
Alvaro de la Cámara
,
François Lott
, and
Albert Hertzog

Abstract

The relationship between gravity wave momentum fluxes and local wind speed is investigated for oceanic regions at high southern latitudes during austral spring. The motivation is to better describe the gravity wave field by identifying a simple relationship between gravity waves and the large-scale flow. The tools used to describe the gravity waves are probability density functions of the gravity wave momentum fluxes. Three independent datasets covering high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere springtime are analyzed: simulations with a mesoscale model, analyses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, and observations from superpressure balloons of the Concordiasi campaign in 2010. A remarkably robust relation is found, with stronger momentum fluxes much more likely in regions of strong winds. The tails of the probability density functions are well described as lognormal. The median momentum flux increases linearly with background wind speed: for winds stronger than 50 m s−1, the median gravity wave momentum fluxes are about 4 times larger than for winds weaker than 10 m s−1. From model output, this relation is found to be relevant from the tropopause to the midstratosphere at least. The flux dependence on wind speed shows a somewhat steeper slope at higher altitude. Several different processes contribute to this relation, involving both the distribution of sources and the effects of propagation and filtering. It is argued that the location of tropospheric sources is the main contributor in the upper troposphere and lowermost stratosphere and that lateral propagation into regions of strong winds becomes increasingly important above.

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Aurélien Podglajen
,
T. Paul Bui
,
Jonathan M. Dean-Day
,
Leonhard Pfister
,
Eric J. Jensen
,
M. Joan Alexander
,
Albert Hertzog
,
Bernd Kärcher
,
Riwal Plougonven
, and
William J. Randel

Abstract

The contribution of turbulent mixing to heat and tracer transport in the tropical tropopause layer (TTL) is poorly constrained, partly owing to a lack of direct observations. Here, the authors use high-resolution (20 Hz) airborne measurements to study the occurrence and properties of small-scale (<100 m) wind fluctuations in the TTL (14–19 km) over the tropical Pacific. The fluctuations are highly intermittent and appear localized within shallow (100 m) patches. Furthermore, active turbulent events are more frequent at low altitude, near deep convection, and within layers of low gradient Richardson number. A case study emphasizes the link between the turbulent events and the occurrence of inertio-gravity waves having small horizontal or vertical scale. To evaluate the impact of the observed fluctuations on tracer mixing, their characteristics are examined. During active events, they are in broad agreement with inertial-range turbulence theory: the motions are close to 3D isotropic and the spectra follow a −5/3 power-law scaling. The diffusivity induced by turbulent bursts is estimated to be on the order of 10−1 m2 s−1 and increases from the top to the bottom of the TTL (from ~2 × 10−2 to ~3 × 10−1 m2 s−1). Given the uncertainties involved in the estimate, this is in reasonable agreement (about a factor of 3–4 lower) with the parameterized turbulent diffusivity in ERA-Interim, but it disagrees with other observational estimates from radar and radiosondes. The magnitude of the consequent vertical transport depends on the altitude and the tracer; for the species considered, it is generally smaller than that induced by the mean tropical upwelling.

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