Quasi-Biennial Oscillation in Phase Speed, Vertical Tilting, and Form Stress of Equatorial Waves in the Stratosphere

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Thursday, 6 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Cory Barton, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL; and M. Cai and C. S. Shin

We have diagnosed phase speed, wave tilt, and form drag of atmospheric waves in the equatorial stratosphere using daily fields in the NCEP-NCAR II reanalysis dataset. The time series of phase speed, wave tilt, and form drag, or pressure torque, are studied with respect to the tropical stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) of mean zonal winds. Observed (ground-relative) phase speed values are found to oscillate quasi-biennially such that ground-relative phase speed increases during the local easterly QBO phase and decreases during the local westerly QBO phase. The wave is found to tilt westward during the local westerly phase and eastward during the local easterly phase. Such QBO oscillation of wave tilting is consistent with the well-known fact that Kelvin and mixed Rossby-gravity waves are dominant in the local easterly and westerly phase, respectively. The eastward tilting waves have positive pressure torque, acting to transfer easterly angular momentum downward, while westward tilting waves have negative pressure torque, transferring westerly angular momentum downward during the local westerly phase.