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Mountain-Wave Drag in the Stratosphere and Mesosphere Inferred from Observed Winds and a Simple Mountain-Wave Parameterization Scheme

Julio T. BacmeisterDepartment of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

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Abstract

A daily analysis of mountain-wave propagation through observed, global wind, and temperature fields in January and August is presented. Winds and temperatures are obtained from the daily 18-level NMC Climate Analysis Center. Mountain-wave properties are deduced from a simple, gravity wave parameterization scheme in which the effects of topographic anisotropy (ridge orientation) are explicitly included. Planetary waves in the northern winter stratosphere are found to play an important role in modulating the magnitude and distribution of inferred mountain-wave drag in the middle atmosphere. The Aleutian anticyclone is found to effectively block mountain waves generated over western North America from reaching the mesosphere by inducing local mountain-wave-critical levels in the stratosphere. Stratospheric sudden warmings have a similar effect at all longitudes so that during months with sudden warmings have a similar effect at all longitudes so that during months with sudden warmings the average inferred drag in the mesosphere is reduced by a factor of 4 to 5 from its normal value. Partly as a consequence of larger planetary-wave filtering in the Northern Hemisphere, inferred mountain-wave drag in the southern winter mesosphere is found to be comparable to that in the northern winter mesosphere. Almost all of the mountain wave drag exerted on the southern middle atmosphere is found to originate over the southern Andes and Antarctic Peninsula.

Abstract

A daily analysis of mountain-wave propagation through observed, global wind, and temperature fields in January and August is presented. Winds and temperatures are obtained from the daily 18-level NMC Climate Analysis Center. Mountain-wave properties are deduced from a simple, gravity wave parameterization scheme in which the effects of topographic anisotropy (ridge orientation) are explicitly included. Planetary waves in the northern winter stratosphere are found to play an important role in modulating the magnitude and distribution of inferred mountain-wave drag in the middle atmosphere. The Aleutian anticyclone is found to effectively block mountain waves generated over western North America from reaching the mesosphere by inducing local mountain-wave-critical levels in the stratosphere. Stratospheric sudden warmings have a similar effect at all longitudes so that during months with sudden warmings have a similar effect at all longitudes so that during months with sudden warmings the average inferred drag in the mesosphere is reduced by a factor of 4 to 5 from its normal value. Partly as a consequence of larger planetary-wave filtering in the Northern Hemisphere, inferred mountain-wave drag in the southern winter mesosphere is found to be comparable to that in the northern winter mesosphere. Almost all of the mountain wave drag exerted on the southern middle atmosphere is found to originate over the southern Andes and Antarctic Peninsula.

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