Effects of Eddy Initial Conditions on Nonlinear Forcing of Planetary Scale Waves by Amplifying Baroclinic Eddies

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  • 1 Space Science Division, NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035
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Abstract

The previous study of Young and Villere concerning growth of planetary scale waves forced by wave-wave interactions of amplifying intermediate scale baroclinic eddies is extended to investigate effects of different eddy initial conditions. A global, spectral, primitive equation model is used for the calculations. For every set of eddy initial conditions considered, growth rates of planetary modes are considerably greater than growth rates computed from linear instability theory for a fixed zonally independent basic state. However, values of growth rates ranged over a factor of 3 depending on the particular set of eddy initial conditions used. Nonlinear forcing of planetary modes via wave-wave coupling becomes more important than baroclinic growth on the basic state at small values of the intermediate-scale modal amplitudes. The relative importance of direct transfer of kinetic energy from intermediate scales of motion to a planetary mode, compared to baroclinic conversion of available potential energy to kinetic energy within that planetary mode, depends on the individual case. In all cases, however, the transfer of either kinetic or available potential energy to the planetary modes was accomplished principally by wave-wave transfer from intermediate scale eddies rather than from the zonally averaged state. The zonal wavenumber 2 planetary mode was prominent in all solutions, even in those for which eddy initial conditions were such that a different planetary mode was selectively forced at the start. General characteristics of the structural evolution of the planetary wave components of total heat and momentum flux, and modal structures themselves, were relatively insensitive to variations in eddy initial conditions, even though quantitative details varied from case to case.

Abstract

The previous study of Young and Villere concerning growth of planetary scale waves forced by wave-wave interactions of amplifying intermediate scale baroclinic eddies is extended to investigate effects of different eddy initial conditions. A global, spectral, primitive equation model is used for the calculations. For every set of eddy initial conditions considered, growth rates of planetary modes are considerably greater than growth rates computed from linear instability theory for a fixed zonally independent basic state. However, values of growth rates ranged over a factor of 3 depending on the particular set of eddy initial conditions used. Nonlinear forcing of planetary modes via wave-wave coupling becomes more important than baroclinic growth on the basic state at small values of the intermediate-scale modal amplitudes. The relative importance of direct transfer of kinetic energy from intermediate scales of motion to a planetary mode, compared to baroclinic conversion of available potential energy to kinetic energy within that planetary mode, depends on the individual case. In all cases, however, the transfer of either kinetic or available potential energy to the planetary modes was accomplished principally by wave-wave transfer from intermediate scale eddies rather than from the zonally averaged state. The zonal wavenumber 2 planetary mode was prominent in all solutions, even in those for which eddy initial conditions were such that a different planetary mode was selectively forced at the start. General characteristics of the structural evolution of the planetary wave components of total heat and momentum flux, and modal structures themselves, were relatively insensitive to variations in eddy initial conditions, even though quantitative details varied from case to case.

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