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On the Three-Dimensional Propagation of Stationary Waves

R. Alan PlumbCSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, 3195 Australia

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Abstract

A locally applicable (nonzonally-averaged) conservation relation is derived for quasi-geostrophic stationary waves on a zonal flow, a generalization of the Eliassen-Palm relation. The flux which appears in this relation constitutes, it is argued, a useful diagnostic of the three-dimensional propagation of stationary wave activity. This is illustrated by application to a simple theoretical model of a forced Rossby wave train and to a Northern Hemisphere winter climatology. Results of the latter procedure suggest that the major forcing of the stationary wave field derives from the orographic effects of the Tibetan plateau and from nonorographic effects (diabatic heating and/or interaction with transient eddies) in the western North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans and Siberia. No evidence is found in the data for wave trains of tropical origin; forcing by the orographic effects of the Rocky mountains seems to be of secondary importance.

Abstract

A locally applicable (nonzonally-averaged) conservation relation is derived for quasi-geostrophic stationary waves on a zonal flow, a generalization of the Eliassen-Palm relation. The flux which appears in this relation constitutes, it is argued, a useful diagnostic of the three-dimensional propagation of stationary wave activity. This is illustrated by application to a simple theoretical model of a forced Rossby wave train and to a Northern Hemisphere winter climatology. Results of the latter procedure suggest that the major forcing of the stationary wave field derives from the orographic effects of the Tibetan plateau and from nonorographic effects (diabatic heating and/or interaction with transient eddies) in the western North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans and Siberia. No evidence is found in the data for wave trains of tropical origin; forcing by the orographic effects of the Rocky mountains seems to be of secondary importance.

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