A Composite Study of the Quasi-Periodic Subtropical Wind Maxima over the South Pacific during November 1984-April 1985

Ken-Chung Ko Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

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Dayton G. Vincent Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

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Abstract

A composite of 10 cases of zonal wind maxima at 200 hPa over the subtropical region stretching from Australia to the central Pacific is examined for the six-month period, November 1984-April 1985. This region is unique in that distinct westerly jets frequently form and propagate eastward at latitudes between 20° and 35°S in the summer season. Some statistical tests were applied and suggest that the flow patterns are quasi periodic, consisting of a tendency for new jet streaks to develop over the eastern Australian region approximately every one to two weeks. These jets then take about 10 days to propagate across the western Pacific before dissipating or, perhaps, moving toward higher latitudes. Their average propagation speed is approximately 4 m s−1. An examination of the case-to-case variability of the jets provides additional evidence that they are significant features. A diagnosis of the trough/ridge systems at 200 and 850 hPa, together with calculations of the vertically integrated mean and shear kinetic energies suggests that baroclinic processes dominate in the entrance and center regions of the jet, whereas barotropic processes dominate in the exit and downstream regions.

Abstract

A composite of 10 cases of zonal wind maxima at 200 hPa over the subtropical region stretching from Australia to the central Pacific is examined for the six-month period, November 1984-April 1985. This region is unique in that distinct westerly jets frequently form and propagate eastward at latitudes between 20° and 35°S in the summer season. Some statistical tests were applied and suggest that the flow patterns are quasi periodic, consisting of a tendency for new jet streaks to develop over the eastern Australian region approximately every one to two weeks. These jets then take about 10 days to propagate across the western Pacific before dissipating or, perhaps, moving toward higher latitudes. Their average propagation speed is approximately 4 m s−1. An examination of the case-to-case variability of the jets provides additional evidence that they are significant features. A diagnosis of the trough/ridge systems at 200 and 850 hPa, together with calculations of the vertically integrated mean and shear kinetic energies suggests that baroclinic processes dominate in the entrance and center regions of the jet, whereas barotropic processes dominate in the exit and downstream regions.

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