1.3 Dynamical control of the mesosphere by gravity wave drag

Monday, 17 June 2013: 8:45 AM
Viking Salons DE (The Hotel Viking)
Charles McLandress, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; and J. F. Scinocca, T. G. Shepherd, M. C. Reader, and G. L. Manney

A version of the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM) that is nudged toward reanalysis data up to 1 hPa is used to examine the impacts of parameterized orographic and non-orographic gravity wave drag (OGWD and NGWD) on the zonal-mean circulation of the mesosphere during the extended northern winters of 2006 and 2009 when there were two large stratospheric sudden warmings. The simulations are compared to Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) observations of mesospheric temperature, carbon monoxide (CO) and derived zonal winds. The control simulation, which uses both OGWD and NGWD, is shown to be in good agreement with MLS. The impacts of OGWD and NGWD are assessed using simulations in which those sources of wave drag are removed. In the absence of OGWD the mesospheric zonal winds in the months preceding the warmings are too strong, causing increased mesospheric NGWD, which drives excessive downwelling, resulting in overly large lower mesospheric values of CO prior to the warming. NGWD is found to be most important following the warmings when the underlying westerlies are too weak to allow much vertical propagation of the orographic gravity waves to the mesosphere. NGWD is primarily responsible for driving the circulation that results in the descent of CO from the thermosphere following the warmings. Zonal mean mesospheric winds and temperatures in all simulations are strongly slaved to the stratosphere through OGWD, NGWD and planetary wave drag. However, that does not imply that the mesospheric circulation is realistic, only that its temporal variation is constrained. The realism of the mesospheric circulation depends on the realism of the slaving mechanisms.
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