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  • Author or Editor: Jordan C. Alpert x
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Marvin A. Geller
Jordan C. Alpert


The possibility of planetary wave coupling between the troposphere and solar-induced alterations in the upper atmosphere providing a viable mechanism for giving rise to sun-weather relationships is investigated. Some of the observational evidence for solar-activity-induced effects on levels of the upper atmosphere ranging from the thermosphere down to the lower stratosphere are reviewed. It is concluded that there is evidence for such effects extending down to the middle stratosphere and below. Evidence is also reviewed that these effects are due to changes in solar ultraviolet emission during disturbed solar conditions. A theoretical planetary wave model is then used to see at what levels in the upper atmosphere moderate changes in the mean zonal wind state would result in tropospheric changes. It is concluded that changes in the mean zonal flow of ∼20% at levels in the vicinity of 35 km or below would give rise to changes in the tropospheric planetary wave pattern that are less than but on the same order as the observed interannual variability in the tropospheric wave pattern at middle and high latitudes. Thus, planetary wave coupling between the troposphere and the upper atmosphere appears to be a plausible mechanism to give a tropospheric response to solar activity. This mechanism is not viable, however, to provide for short-period changes such as the suggested solar sector boundary vorticity index relation, but rather is applicable to changes of longer period such as the 11- or 22-year solar cycles.

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Shyh-Chin Chen
John O. Roads
, and
Jordan C. Alpert


Climatological and predictability features of a simplified moist general circulation model are described herein. The simplified model is driven by empirical forcings designed to eliminate systematic errors and maintain computational efficiency. Resulting perpetual January climatological features of forced variables such as the tropospheric heights and rotational winds, as well as unforced variables such as the velocity potential, compare well with the observations. Unforced temporal variations in the midlatitude 500-mb geopotential, as well as the tropical circulation's intraseasonal oscillation, are also simulated reasonably well.

Short-range persistence and predictability features of this model replicate geographical persistence and predictability features from simpler models and from numerical weather prediction. The streamfunction is highly persistent in the extratropics, less so in the tropical regions; similarly, the streamfunction is predicted better in midlatitude regions than in the tropics. By contrast, the velocity potential is more persistent in tropical regions but, like the streamfunction, is still predicted best in extratropical regions for short-range forecasts. At longer forecast ranges, the velocity potential is better predicted in the tropics than in midlatitudes. Interestingly, during prominent tropical intraseasonal oscillations, the model consistently demonstrates lower tropical forecasting skill. Predictions are more skillful during stagnant tropical periods.

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