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Lawrence Coy

Abstract

A time-height section of the guasi-biennial oscillation is presented from 1950 to 1978 and the presence of an unusually large westerly amplitude during the winter 1977–78 is noted.

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Lawrence Coy

Abstract

An examination of daily meteorological rocket data taken during January and February 1977 at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands (9°N, 168°E) suggests the presence of a large oscillation in the meridional wind with a period near 2 days. Some rocket data taken concurrently at other stations is also presented. The Canal Zone station (9°N, 80°W) suggests a possible 2-day oscillation, while middle- and high-latitude stations show variability with periods ranging from 2–5 days.

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Lawrence Coy and Matthew Hitchman

Abstract

Atmospheric Kelvin waves, as revealed by temperatures obtained from the recent Limb Infrared Monitor of the Stratosphere (LIMS) experiment, commonly occur in packets. A simple two-dimensional gravity-wave model is used to study the upward propagation of these packets through different zonal mean wind profiles derived from the LIMS data. The observed prevalence of high frequency waves in the lower mesosphere and low frequency waves in the lower stratosphere can be explained by dispersion of energy associated with the range of frequencies comprising a packet. Dominant wave frequencies at upper and lower levels are more distinctly separated if the packet propagates through a layer of westerly winds. Due to dispersion and shear effects, a packet of short temporal length at low levels will have a considerably extended impact on a layer of westerly winds at higher levels. Observed and modeled westerly accelerations resulting from packet absorption occur in the same layer, and are similar in magnitude and duration. These results support the theory that Kelvin waves are responsible for the westerly phase of the semiannual oscillation.

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Lawrence Coy and Steven Pawson

Abstract

The major stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) of 6 January 2013 is examined using output from the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) Goddard Earth Observing System version 5 (GEOS-5) near-real-time data assimilation system (DAS). GEOS-5 analyses showed that the SSW of January 2013 was a major warming by 1200 UTC 6 January, with a wave-2 vortex-splitting pattern. Upward wave activity flux from the upper troposphere (~23 December 2012) displaced the ~10-hPa polar vortex off the pole in a wave-1 pattern, enabling the poleward advection of subtropical values of Ertel potential vorticity (EPV) into a developing anticyclonic circulation region. While the polar vortex subsequently split (wave-2 pattern) the wave-2 forcing [upward Eliassen–Palm (EP) flux] was smaller than what was found in recent wave-2, SSW events, with most of the forcing located in the Pacific hemisphere. Investigation of a rapidly developing tropospheric weather system over the North Atlantic on 28–29 December 2012 showed strong transient upward wave activity flux from the storm with influences up to 10 hPa; however, the Pacific hemisphere wave forcing remained dominate at this time. Results from the GEOS-5 five-day forecasts showed that the forecasts accurately predicted the major SSW of January 2013. The overall success of the 5-day forecasts provides motivation to produce regular 10-day forecasts with GEOS-5, to better support studies of stratosphere–troposphere interaction.

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Krzysztof Wargan and Lawrence Coy

Abstract

The behavior of the tropopause inversion layer (TIL) during the 2009 sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) is analyzed using NASA’s Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), and short-term simulations with the MERRA-2 general circulation model. Consistent with previous studies, it is found that static stability in a shallow layer above the polar tropopause sharply increases following the SSW, leading to a strengthening of the high-latitude TIL. Simultaneously, the height of the thermal tropopause decreases by around 1 km. Similar behavior is also detected during other major SSW events between the years 2004 and 2013. Using an ensemble of general circulation model forecasts initialized from MERRA-2, it is demonstrated that the primary cause of the strengthening of the TIL is an increased convergence of the vertical component of the stratospheric residual circulation in response to an SSW-induced acceleration of the mean downward motion between 75° and 90°N. In addition, ~6% of the strengthening in 2009 is attributed to an enhanced anticyclonic circulation at the tropopause. A preliminary analysis indicates that during other recent SSW events there was a significant increase in the convergence of the vertical residual wind velocity throughout the middle and lower stratosphere. The static stability increase simulated by the model during the 2009 SSW is 60%–80% of that seen in MERRA-2. The underestimate is traced back to a tendency for the forecasts to underestimate the resolved planetary wave forcing on the stratosphere compared to the reanalysis.

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Lawrence Coy and David C. Fritts

Abstract

The effect of a vertically propagating, internal gravity wave on the vertical flux of potential temperature (heat) is considered by averaging the local heat flux vector over a potential temperature surface. This approach gives the wave heat flux a simple physical picture which is not readily apparent from the more common Eulerian formulation. This method also allows the eddy diffusion coefficient to be a function of the phase of the wave. Such a phase dependent eddy diffusion has been previously considered from an Eulerian viewpoint as a model of a convectively unstable gravity wave. Here, the Lagrangian method confirms and corrects the Eulerian results. Earlier work is extended by modeling a constant amplitude “breaking” wave, as well as by considering eddy diffusion coefficients that are asymmetric with respect to the wave breaking region. In all cases studied, 1ocalizing the eddy diffusion to the region of wayebreaking decreases the average heat flux.

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Lawrence Coy, Stephen Eckermann, and Karl Hoppel

Abstract

The major stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) of January 2006 is examined using meteorological fields from Goddard Earth Observing System version 4 (GEOS-4) analyses and forecast fields from the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System–Advanced Level Physics, High Altitude (NOGAPS-ALPHA). The study focuses on the upper tropospheric forcing that led to the major SSW and the vertical structure of the subtropic wave breaking near 10 hPa that moved low tropical values of potential vorticity (PV) to the pole. Results show that an eastward-propagating upper tropospheric ridge over the North Atlantic with its associated cold temperature perturbations (as manifested by high 360-K potential temperature surface perturbations) and large positive local values of meridional heat flux directly forced a change in the stratospheric polar vortex, leading to the stratospheric subtropical wave breaking and warming. Results also show that the anticyclonic development, initiated by the subtropical wave breaking and associated with the poleward advection of the low PV values, occurred over a limited altitude range of approximately 6–10 km. The authors also show that the poleward advection of this localized low-PV anomaly was associated with changes in the Eliassen–Palm (EP) flux from equatorward to poleward, suggesting an important role for Rossby wave reflection in the SSW of January 2006. Similar upper tropospheric forcing and subtropical wave breaking were found to occur prior to the major SSW of January 2003.

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Lawrence Coy, David C. Fritts, and J. Weinstock

Abstract

Vertically propagating, compressible, internal gravity waves are shown to have a vertical Stokes drift which is proportional to the vertical wave energy flux. In regions of the atmosphere dominated by upward propagating waves, such as the summer mesosphere, this Stokes drift will be upward. For the Lagrangian mean parcel motion to be small, a downward mean Eulerian velocity must exist to largely oppose the upward Stokes drift. These. results may explain the downward mean Eulerian velocity observed at Poker Flat, Alaska in the summer mesosphere.

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David C. Fritts, Robert C. Blanchard, and Lawrence Coy

Abstract

Density fluctuations obtained along seven space shuttle reentry tracks are used in this paper to examine the horizontal structure and the vertical distribution of density variance in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere. The tracks lie primarily over open ocean at middle and low latitudes and represent the only measurements of horizontal atmospheric structure at these heights available to date. The density fluctuations are interpreted in terms of gravity wave motions and reveal significant density (and velocity) variance at horizontal scales ranging from ∼10 to 1000 km. Fluctuation amplitudes are used to infer corresponding velocity perturbations and characteristic vertical scales and frequencies of the wave spectrum. Results suggest that the mean velocity variance is smaller over the Pacific ocean than observed over major land masses and that the variance increases with height in a manner consistent with that expected in the presence of wave saturation processes.

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Lawrence Coy, Richard B. Rood, and Paul A. Newman

Abstract

Winds derived from a stratospheric and tropospheric data assimilation system (STRATAN) are compared with balance winds derived from National Meteorological Center/Climate Analysis Center (NMC/CAC) heights. At middle latitudes in the lower stratosphere, the results show that STRATAN winds are comparable to the balance winds. In addition STRATAN winds provide useful horizontal divergence analyses, and hence, vertical velocity fields. More generally, the STRATAN winds are useful in a more extended domain than the balanced winds. In particular, they are useful in the Tropics and the upper stratosphere where the balanced winds fail. The assimilation also captures the quasi-biennial oscillation, but does not do a good job of representing tropical waves.

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