The Behavior of Planetary Wave 2 in Preconditioned Zonal Flows

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
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Abstract

The response of linear planetary wave 2 to changes in the isentropic zonally symmetric distribution of potential vorticity (PV) is investigated numerically. Wave 2 is sensitive to the width and position of a region where the meridional derivative of PV is weak, denoted the “surf zone”, in the middle stratosphere. A narrow surf zone leads to an amplification of wave 2, and confines some of its Eliassen-Palm wave activity in high latitudes. For wider surf zones the wave activity is concentrated near the associated critical surface, and the amplitude of the wave decreases. Large changes in the wave amplitude and in the distribution of its activity are associated with the subtle changes in the zonal winds produced by modest modifications in the distribution of PV.

Basic states that include regions of reversed meridional gradients of PV lead to wave overreflection and strong poleward focusing of wave activity. The amplitude of wave 2 is enhanced in the presence of negative gradients, with large responses occurring for eastward traveling waves.

Abstract

The response of linear planetary wave 2 to changes in the isentropic zonally symmetric distribution of potential vorticity (PV) is investigated numerically. Wave 2 is sensitive to the width and position of a region where the meridional derivative of PV is weak, denoted the “surf zone”, in the middle stratosphere. A narrow surf zone leads to an amplification of wave 2, and confines some of its Eliassen-Palm wave activity in high latitudes. For wider surf zones the wave activity is concentrated near the associated critical surface, and the amplitude of the wave decreases. Large changes in the wave amplitude and in the distribution of its activity are associated with the subtle changes in the zonal winds produced by modest modifications in the distribution of PV.

Basic states that include regions of reversed meridional gradients of PV lead to wave overreflection and strong poleward focusing of wave activity. The amplitude of wave 2 is enhanced in the presence of negative gradients, with large responses occurring for eastward traveling waves.

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