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The middle-atmosphere Hadley circulation and equatorial inertial adjustment

Semeniuk, K. and Shepherd, T. G. ORCID: (2001) The middle-atmosphere Hadley circulation and equatorial inertial adjustment. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 58 (21). pp. 3077-3096. ISSN 1520-0469

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/1520-0469(2001)058<3077:TMAHCA>2.0.CO;2


In the tropical middle atmosphere the climatological radiative equilibrium temperature is inconsistent with gradient-wind balance and the available angular momentum, especially during solstice seasons. Adjustment toward a balanced state results in a type of Hadley circulation that lies outside the “downward control” view of zonally averaged dynamics. This middle-atmosphere Hadley circulation is reexamined here using a zonally symmetric balance model driven through an annual cycle. It is found that the inclusion of a realistic radiation scheme leads to a concentration of the circulation near the stratopause and to its closing off in the mesosphere, with no need for relaxational damping or a rigid lid. The evolving zonal flow is inertially unstable, leading to a rapid process of inertial adjustment, which becomes significant in the mesosphere. This short-circuits the slower process of angular momentum homogenization by the Hadley circulation itself, thereby weakening the latter. The effect of the meridional circulation associated with extratropical wave drag on the Hadley circulation is considered. It is shown that the two circulations are independent for linear (quasigeostrophic) zonal-mean dynamics, and interact primarily through the advection of temperature and angular momentum. There appears to be no significant coupling in the deep Tropics via temperature advection since the wave-driven circulation is unable to alter meridional temperature gradients in this region. However, the wave-driven circulation can affect the Hadley circulation by advecting angular momentum out of the Tropics. The validity of the zonally symmetric balance model with parameterized inertial adjustment is tested by comparison with a three-dimensional primitive equations model. Fields from a middle-atmosphere GCM are also examined for evidence of these processes. While many aspects of the GCM circulation are indicative of the middle-atmosphere Hadley circulation, particularly in the upper stratosphere, it appears that the circulation is obscured in the mesosphere and lower stratosphere by other processes.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:32846
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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