On the momentum fluxes associated with mountain waves in directionally sheared flows
Teixeira, M. A. C. and Miranda, P. M. A. (2009) On the momentum fluxes associated with mountain waves in directionally sheared flows. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 66 (11). pp. 3419-3433. ISSN 1520-0469
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/2009JAS3065.1
The direct impact of mountain waves on the atmospheric circulation is due to the deposition of wave momentum at critical levels, or levels where the waves break. The first process is treated analytically in this study within the framework of linear theory. The variation of the momentum flux with height is investigated for relatively large shears, extending the authors’ previous calculations of the surface gravity wave drag to the whole atmosphere. A Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin (WKB) approximation is used to treat inviscid, steady, nonrotating, hydrostatic flow with directional shear over a circular mesoscale mountain, for generic wind profiles. This approximation must be extended to third order to obtain momentum flux expressions that are accurate to second order. Since the momentum flux only varies because of wave filtering by critical levels, the application of contour integration techniques enables it to be expressed in terms of simple 1D integrals. On the other hand, the momentum flux divergence (which corresponds to the force on the atmosphere that must be represented in gravity wave drag parameterizations) is given in closed analytical form. The momentum flux expressions are tested for idealized wind profiles, where they become a function of the Richardson number (Ri). These expressions tend, for high Ri, to results by previous authors, where wind profile effects on the surface drag were neglected and critical levels acted as perfect absorbers. The linear results are compared with linear and nonlinear numerical simulations, showing a considerable improvement upon corresponding results derived for higher Ri.