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Planetary Wave Coupling between the Troposphere and the Middle Atmosphere as a Possible Sun-Weather Mechanism

Marvin A. GellerRosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149

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Jordan C. AlpertRosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149

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Abstract

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.

Abstract

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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