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The drag exerted by weakly dissipative trapped lee waves on the atmosphere: application to Scorer’s two-layer model

Teixeira, M. A. C. and Argaín, J. L. (2022) The drag exerted by weakly dissipative trapped lee waves on the atmosphere: application to Scorer’s two-layer model. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 148 (748). pp. 3211-3230. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.4355


Although it is known that trapped lee waves propagating at low levels in a stratified atmosphere exert a drag on the mountains that generate them, the distribution of the corresponding reaction force exerted on the atmospheric mean circulation, defined by the wave momentum flux profiles, has not been established, because for inviscid trapped lee waves these profiles oscillate indefinitely downstream. A framework is developed here for the unambiguous calculation of momentum flux profiles produced by trapped lee waves, which circumvents the difficulties plaguing the inviscid trapped lee wave theory. Using linear theory, and taking Scorer's two-layer atmosphere as an example, the waves are assumed to be subject to a small dissipation, expressed as a Rayleigh damping. The resulting wave pattern decays downstream, so the momentum flux profile integrated over the area occupied by the waves converges to a well-defined form. Remarkably, for weak dissipation, this form is independent of the value of Rayleigh damping coefficient, and the inviscid drag, determined in previous studies, is recovered as the momentum flux at the surface. The divergence of this momentum flux profile accounts for the areally integrated drag exerted by the waves on the atmosphere. The application of this framework to this and other types of trapped lee waves potentially enables the development of physically based parametrizations of the effects of trapped lee waves on the atmosphere.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:106888
Uncontrolled Keywords:mountain waves, wave trapping, gravity wave drag, wave momentum flux, linear wave theory, weak dissipation
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


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