Stratospheric wave-mean flow feedbacks in a simple model forced by upward wave activity flux and in an idealized general circulation model
The Holton-Mass model contains a positive wave-mean flow feedback whereby wave forcing decelerates the mean flow, allowing enhanced wave propagation, which then further decelerates the mean flow, etc., until the mean flow no longer supports wave propagation. By specifying incoming wave activity flux, we constrain this feedback to the model interior. Bistability – where the zonal wind may exist at one of two distinct steady states for a given incoming wave forcing – is maintained in this reformulated model. We perturb the model with transient pulses of upward wave activity flux to produce transitions between the two stable states. A minimum of integrated incoming wave activity flux necessary to force these sudden stratospheric warming-like transitions exists for pulses with time scales on the order of 10 days, arising from a wave time scale internal to the model at which forcing produces the strongest mean flow response. We examine how the tropopause affects the internal feedback for this model setup and find that the tropopause inversion layer may potentially provide an important source of wave activity in the lower stratosphere. These aspects of stratospheric wave-mean flow feedbacks are additionally explored in an idealized general circulation model forced zonal topography.