Middle Atmospheric Traveling Waves Forced by Latent and Convective Heating

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  • 1 Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
  • 2 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory/NOAA, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
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Abstract

The excitation and propagation of equatorial planetary waves and inertia-gravity waves were studied by comparing simulations from the comprehensive GFDL troposphere-stratosphere-mesosphere SKYHI general circulation model (GCM) and from a linear primitive equation model with the same domain and numerical resolution. The basic state of the linear model is time dependent and is derived from the mean zonal wind and temperature obtained from a simulation with the full SKYHI model. The latent and convective heating fields of this SKYHI integration are used as the forcing for the linear model in a parallel simulation.

The wavelength and frequency characteristics of the prominent vertically propagating equatorial Kelvin and Rossby-gravity waves are remarkably similar in the linear model and in SKYHI. Amplitudes are also similar in the lower stratosphere, indicating that the latent and convective heating is the dominant mechanism producing equatorial wave activity in the GCM. The amplitude of these waves in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere is larger in the linear model than in SKYHI. Given that the linear and SKYHI models have comparable radiative damping and horizontal subgrid scale diffusion, it appears that the wave amplitudes in SKYHI are limited by some nonlinear saturation, possibly involving the subgrid-scale vertical mixing.

At low latitudes the linear model reproduces the flux of upward-propagating inertia-gravity waves seen in the full model. The results also show that a significant fraction of the inertia-gravity wave activity found in the midlatitude mesosphere of the SKYHI model can be accounted for by tropical convective heating.

The global-scale Rossby normal modes seen in observations were also identified in the analyses of westward-propagating planetary waves in both models. They are of realistic amplitude in the SKYHI simulation but are much weaker in the linear model. Thus, it appears that latent and convective heating is not the main source of excitation for the Rossby normal modes.

Abstract

The excitation and propagation of equatorial planetary waves and inertia-gravity waves were studied by comparing simulations from the comprehensive GFDL troposphere-stratosphere-mesosphere SKYHI general circulation model (GCM) and from a linear primitive equation model with the same domain and numerical resolution. The basic state of the linear model is time dependent and is derived from the mean zonal wind and temperature obtained from a simulation with the full SKYHI model. The latent and convective heating fields of this SKYHI integration are used as the forcing for the linear model in a parallel simulation.

The wavelength and frequency characteristics of the prominent vertically propagating equatorial Kelvin and Rossby-gravity waves are remarkably similar in the linear model and in SKYHI. Amplitudes are also similar in the lower stratosphere, indicating that the latent and convective heating is the dominant mechanism producing equatorial wave activity in the GCM. The amplitude of these waves in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere is larger in the linear model than in SKYHI. Given that the linear and SKYHI models have comparable radiative damping and horizontal subgrid scale diffusion, it appears that the wave amplitudes in SKYHI are limited by some nonlinear saturation, possibly involving the subgrid-scale vertical mixing.

At low latitudes the linear model reproduces the flux of upward-propagating inertia-gravity waves seen in the full model. The results also show that a significant fraction of the inertia-gravity wave activity found in the midlatitude mesosphere of the SKYHI model can be accounted for by tropical convective heating.

The global-scale Rossby normal modes seen in observations were also identified in the analyses of westward-propagating planetary waves in both models. They are of realistic amplitude in the SKYHI simulation but are much weaker in the linear model. Thus, it appears that latent and convective heating is not the main source of excitation for the Rossby normal modes.

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