Thursday, 29 June 2017
Salon A-E (Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront)
While it is well-known that synoptic-scale waves exert a positive feedback onto the mid-latitude jet variability, planetary-scale waves tend to create a short-term damping effect on the jet variability that has not been deeply examined in the literature. Our study aims at characterizing this damping effect using a three-level quasigeostrophic model on the sphere. A first approach consists of studying the nonlinear evolution of normal-mode disturbances in a baroclinic westerly zonal jet. For a low-zonal-wavenumber disturbance, successive acceleration and deceleration of the jet occur as a result of reflection of the wave on either side of the jet. The planetary wave deposits momentum in opposite ways during its poleward or equatorward propagation. In contrast, a high-zonal-wavenumber disturbance is not reflected but absorbed within the subtropical critical layer. It thus only induces poleward momentum fluxes, which accelerate the jet and shift it slightly poleward. A long-term simulation forced by a relaxation toward a zonally symmetric temperature profile is then analyzed. Planetary waves are shown to be baroclinically excited. When they propagate equatorward, they induce an acceleration of the jet together with a slight poleward shift. About two-thirds of the planetary waves are absorbed by the subtropical critical layer, which allows the accelerated poleward-shifted jet to persist for a while. For the remaining third, the potential vorticity equatorward of the jet is so well homogenized that a reflection occurs. It is followed by an abrupt jet deceleration during the subsequent poleward propagation. The reflection of planetary waves on the poleward side of the jet is more systematic because of the quasi-permanent presence of a turning latitude there. This negative planetary wave feedback is shown to act more on pulses of the jet than on its latitudinal shifts.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner