9 Interannual Variability in Equatorial Kelvin Waves in the Upper Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere, and Relation to the Background Equatorial Wind

Monday, 26 June 2017
Salon A-E (Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront)
Junko Suzuki, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Japan; and N. Nishi, M. Fujiwara, and K. Yoneyama

We investigated the influence of the background wind regime on interannual variability in equatorial Kelvin waves in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere using the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts 40-year reanalysis data. We focused on variability in the number of Kelvin wave events as a function of the background westerly wind, given by the zonal wind index (ZWI) in the equatorial western hemisphere. The ZWI measures the strength of the upper branch of the Walker circulation in the western hemisphere. Although the ZWI is well correlated with the sea surface temperature in the Niño-3.4 region, nearly half of the peaks of positive (negative) ZWI cases occurred outside of the typical La Niña (El Niño) season (December to February), respectively. In the positive ZWI (stronger westerly) cases, both convective activity over the western Pacific and extratropical Rossby waves were enhanced. Kelvin waves over the western hemisphere appeared frequently at 200 hPa but barely reached 100 hPa due to the strong westerly wind under this level. In the negative ZWI period, on the other hand, the number of Kelvin waves at 200 hPa decreased due to the weaker convection; Kelvin waves reached 100 hPa and propagated even farther upward.

We also investigated the relationship between the ZWI and the phase speed of Kelvin waves. Kelvin waves with relatively slow phase speeds are found in negative ZWI cases, but are not found in positive ZWI cases due to the westerly background wind below the altitudes where Kelvin waves commonly propagate.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner