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The influence of the QBO on the propagation of equatorial waves into the stratosphere

Yang, G.-Y. ORCID:, Hoskins, B. and Gray, L. (2012) The influence of the QBO on the propagation of equatorial waves into the stratosphere. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 69 (10). pp. 2959-2982. ISSN 1520-0469

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JAS-D-11-0342.1


The variation of stratospheric equatorial wave characteristics with the phase of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is investigated using ECMWF Re-Analysis and NOAA outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data. The impact of the QBO phases on the upward propagation of equatorial waves is found to be consistent and significant. In the easterly phase, there is larger Kelvin wave amplitude but smaller westward-moving mixed Rossby–gravity (WMRG) and n = 1 Rossby (R1) wave amplitude due to reduced propagation from the upper troposphere into the lower stratosphere, compared with the westerly phase. Differences in the wave amplitude exist in a deeper layer in summer than in winter, consistent with the seasonality of ambient zonal winds. There is a strong evidence of Kelvin wave amplitude peaking just below the descending westerly phase, suggesting that Kelvin waves act to bring the westerly phase downward. However, the corresponding evidence for WMRG and R1 waves is less clear. In the lower stratosphere there is zonal variation in equatorial waves. This reflects the zonal asymmetry of wave amplitudes in the upper troposphere, the source for the lower-stratospheric waves. In easterly winters the upper-tropospheric WMRG and R1 waves over the eastern Pacific region appear to be somewhat stronger compared to climatology, perhaps because of the accumulation of waves that are unable to propagate upward into the lower stratosphere. Vertical propagation features of these waves are generally consistent with theory and suggest a mixture of Doppler shifting by ambient flows and filtering. Some lower-stratosphere equatorial waves have a connection with preceding tropical convection, especially for Kelvin and R1 waves in winter.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:29390
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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