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Energetics of Interactions between African Easterly Waves and Convectively Coupled Kelvin Waves

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  • 1 aDepartment of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • | 2 bNorth Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, North Carolina State University, Asheville, North Carolina
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Abstract

Perturbation kinetic and available energy budgets are used to explore how convectively coupled equatorial Kelvin waves (KWs) impact African easterly wave (AEW) activity. The convective phase of the Kelvin wave increases the African easterly jet’s meridional shear, thus enhancing the barotropic energy conversions, leading to intensification of southern track AEWs perturbation kinetic energy. In contrast, the barotropic energy conversion is reduced in the suppressed phase of KW. Baroclinic energy conversion of the southern track AEWs is not significantly different between Kelvin waves’ convective and suppressed phases. AEWs in the convective phase of a Kelvin wave have stronger perturbation available potential energy generation by diabatic heating and stronger baroclinic overturning circulations than in the suppressed phase of a Kelvin wave. These differences suggest that southern track AEWs within the convective phase of Kelvin waves have more vigorous convection than in the suppressed phase of Kelvin waves. Barotropic energy conversion of the northern track AEWs is not significantly different between Kelvin waves’ convective and suppressed phases. The convective phase of the Kelvin wave increases the lower-tropospheric meridional temperature gradient north of the African easterly jet, thus enhancing the baroclinic energy conversion, leading to intensification of northern track AEWs perturbation kinetic energy. In contrast, the baroclinic energy conversion is reduced in the suppressed phase of KW. These results provide a physical basis for the modulation of AEWs by Kelvin waves arriving from upstream.

Mantripragada’s current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: R. S. S. Mantripragada, rmantrip@gmu.edu

Abstract

Perturbation kinetic and available energy budgets are used to explore how convectively coupled equatorial Kelvin waves (KWs) impact African easterly wave (AEW) activity. The convective phase of the Kelvin wave increases the African easterly jet’s meridional shear, thus enhancing the barotropic energy conversions, leading to intensification of southern track AEWs perturbation kinetic energy. In contrast, the barotropic energy conversion is reduced in the suppressed phase of KW. Baroclinic energy conversion of the southern track AEWs is not significantly different between Kelvin waves’ convective and suppressed phases. AEWs in the convective phase of a Kelvin wave have stronger perturbation available potential energy generation by diabatic heating and stronger baroclinic overturning circulations than in the suppressed phase of a Kelvin wave. These differences suggest that southern track AEWs within the convective phase of Kelvin waves have more vigorous convection than in the suppressed phase of Kelvin waves. Barotropic energy conversion of the northern track AEWs is not significantly different between Kelvin waves’ convective and suppressed phases. The convective phase of the Kelvin wave increases the lower-tropospheric meridional temperature gradient north of the African easterly jet, thus enhancing the baroclinic energy conversion, leading to intensification of northern track AEWs perturbation kinetic energy. In contrast, the baroclinic energy conversion is reduced in the suppressed phase of KW. These results provide a physical basis for the modulation of AEWs by Kelvin waves arriving from upstream.

Mantripragada’s current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: R. S. S. Mantripragada, rmantrip@gmu.edu
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