The Half-Yearly Oscillations in the Tropics of the Southern Hemisphere

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo.
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Abstract

In the tropics of the Southern Hemisphere the zonal wind in the troposphere above the 500-mb level has a well defined half-yearly oscillation with westerly maxima (easterly minima) in May and November. It is demonstrated that the oscillation is associated with second harmonics of opposite phase in the temperature above the equator and in the subtropics. The temperature oscillations are tentatively explained as being the result of an intensification of vertical motions from autumn to winter. The half-yearly temperature oscillations reverse phase near the tropopause, and again near the 50-mb level. Above this level they are thus in the same phase as in the upper troposphere. The phase reversals imply that the second harmonic of the zonal component of the thermal wind likewise changes phase twice.

A marked longitudinal asymmetry is observed with the oscillations being considerably stronger in the Eastern than in the Western Hemisphere.

Abstract

In the tropics of the Southern Hemisphere the zonal wind in the troposphere above the 500-mb level has a well defined half-yearly oscillation with westerly maxima (easterly minima) in May and November. It is demonstrated that the oscillation is associated with second harmonics of opposite phase in the temperature above the equator and in the subtropics. The temperature oscillations are tentatively explained as being the result of an intensification of vertical motions from autumn to winter. The half-yearly temperature oscillations reverse phase near the tropopause, and again near the 50-mb level. Above this level they are thus in the same phase as in the upper troposphere. The phase reversals imply that the second harmonic of the zonal component of the thermal wind likewise changes phase twice.

A marked longitudinal asymmetry is observed with the oscillations being considerably stronger in the Eastern than in the Western Hemisphere.

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