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Implications of the semigeostrophic nature of Rossby waves for Rossby wave packet detection

Wolf, G. and Wirth, V. (2015) Implications of the semigeostrophic nature of Rossby waves for Rossby wave packet detection. Monthly Weather Review, 143 (1). pp. 26-38. ISSN 1520-0493

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-14-00120.1


Upper-tropospheric Rossby wave packets have received increased attention recently. In most previous studies wave packets have been detected by computing the envelope of the meridional wind field using either complex demodulation or a Hilbert transform. The latter requires fewer choices to be made and appears, therefore, preferable. However, the Hilbert transform is fraught with a significant problem, namely, a tendency that fragments a single wave packet into several parts. The problem arises because Rossby wave packets show substantial deviations from the almost-plane wave paradigm, a feature that is well represented by semigeostrophic dynamics. As a consequence, higher harmonics interfere with the reconstruction of the wave envelope leading to undesirable wiggles. A possible cure lies in additional smoothing (e.g., by means of a filter) or resorting to complex demodulation (which implies smoothing, too). Another possibility, which does not imply any smoothing, lies in applying the Hilbert transform in semi-geostrophic coordinate space. It turns out beneficial to exclude planetary-scale wavenumbers from this transformation in order to avoid problems in cases when the wave packet travels on a low wavenumber quasi-stationary background flow.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
ID Code:69071
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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