Stratospheric Circulation in the Southern Summer/Northern Winter 1980–81: Behavior of Zonal Waves 1–10

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  • 1 Physics Department, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
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Abstract

Daily global grids of high-quality, satellite-borne microwave measurements have been used to study the behavior of stratospheric waves during November 1980–March 1981. The primary motivation was to investigate, by comparing with earlier analyses, the interannual variation of recently reported medium-scale wave domination of Southern Hemisphere (SH) summer circulation. Zonal means, as well as time-mean and transient zonal waves 1–10, are studied. In addition, space-time spectra are determined from the 138-day record. Prominent medium-scale features are found to occur in 1980–81, although wave 4 is strongest, in contrast to the Global Weather Experiment period (1978–79) when wave 5 dominated the SH summer circulation. The same highly-continuous, regular eastward phase movement of SH medium-scale waves is found in 1980–81 as in 1978–79. A second noteworthy observation is that of strong, time-mean waves 3–4 with symmetry about the equator, with positive temperature perturbations over the western Pacific and Atlantic equatorial regions, and negative anomalies over South America, Africa, and Indonesia. Confidence in the SH spectral results is enhanced by good agreement between our Northern Hemisphere (NH) medium-scale analyses and recent geopotential height studies by other investigators.

These results serve to bring into sharper focus the question of why, in contrast with the more well-known NH, the SH circulation evidences such robust and highly continuous medium-scale eddies in summer.

Abstract

Daily global grids of high-quality, satellite-borne microwave measurements have been used to study the behavior of stratospheric waves during November 1980–March 1981. The primary motivation was to investigate, by comparing with earlier analyses, the interannual variation of recently reported medium-scale wave domination of Southern Hemisphere (SH) summer circulation. Zonal means, as well as time-mean and transient zonal waves 1–10, are studied. In addition, space-time spectra are determined from the 138-day record. Prominent medium-scale features are found to occur in 1980–81, although wave 4 is strongest, in contrast to the Global Weather Experiment period (1978–79) when wave 5 dominated the SH summer circulation. The same highly-continuous, regular eastward phase movement of SH medium-scale waves is found in 1980–81 as in 1978–79. A second noteworthy observation is that of strong, time-mean waves 3–4 with symmetry about the equator, with positive temperature perturbations over the western Pacific and Atlantic equatorial regions, and negative anomalies over South America, Africa, and Indonesia. Confidence in the SH spectral results is enhanced by good agreement between our Northern Hemisphere (NH) medium-scale analyses and recent geopotential height studies by other investigators.

These results serve to bring into sharper focus the question of why, in contrast with the more well-known NH, the SH circulation evidences such robust and highly continuous medium-scale eddies in summer.

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