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The detailed dynamics of the June–August Hadley Cell

Hoskins, B. J., Yang, G.-Y. and Fonseca, R. M. (2020) The detailed dynamics of the June–August Hadley Cell. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 146 (727). pp. 557-575. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.3702


The seminal theory for the Hadley Cells has demonstrated that their existence is necessary for the reduction of tropical temperature gradients to a value such that the implied zonal winds are realisable. At the heart of the theory is the notion of angular momentum conservation in the upper branch of the Hadley Cells. Eddy mixing associated with extra‐tropical systems is invoked to give continuity at the edge of the Hadley Cell and to reduce the subtropical jet by a factor of 3 or more to those observed. In this paper a detailed view is presented of the dynamics of the June–August Hadley Cell, as given by ERA data for the period 1981–2010, with an emphasis on the dynamics of the upper branch. The steady and transient northward fluxes of angular momentum have a very similar structure, both having a maximum on the equator and a reversal in sign near 12°S, with the transient flux merging into that associated with eddies on the winter sub‐tropical jet. In the northward absolute vorticity flux, the Coriolis torque is balanced by both the steady and transient fluxes. The overturning circulations that average to give the Hadley Cell are confined to specific longitudinal regions, as are the steady and transient momentum fluxes. In these regions, both intra‐seasonal and synoptic variations are important. The dominant contributor to the Hadley Cell is from the Indian Ocean and W Pacific regions, and the maxima in OLR variability and meridional wind in these regions have a characteristic structure associated with the Westward‐moving Mixed Rossby‐Gravity wave. Much of the upper tropospheric motion into the winter hemisphere occurs in filaments of air from the summer equatorial region. These filaments can reach the winter sub‐tropical jet, leading to the strengthening of it and of the eddies on it, implying strong tropical‐extratropical interaction.

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:87605
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


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