TITLE

Generation of African Easterly Wave Disturbances: Relationship to the African Easterly Jet

AUTHOR(S)
Hsieh, Jen-Shan; Cook, Kerry H.
PUB. DATE
May 2005
SOURCE
Monthly Weather Review;May2005, Vol. 133 Issue 5, p1311
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The relationship between African easterly waves and the background climatology in which they form is studied using a regional climate model. The surface and lateral boundary conditions in the model are manipulated to modify the background climatology, especially the African easterly jet and the ITCZ, and the behavior of the waves in these different settings is evaluated. Three climate simulations are presented, with monthly mean lateral and surface boundary conditions. One has a strong jet and a strong ITCZ, the second has a strong jet and a weak ITCZ, and the third has a weak jet and a strong ITCZ. In these simulations, the presence of wave activity is more closely associated with the concentration of the ITCZ than the strength of the African easterly jet. In particular, the simulation with a strong jet accompanied by a weak ITCZ does not produce significant wave activity, but a weak jet with a strong ITCZ has realistic wave disturbances. Both the Charney–Stern and the Fjörtoft necessary conditions are satisfied in all three simulations, suggesting that combined barotropic and baroclinic instability contributes to the generation of waves. Near the origin of the waves, meridional gradient reversals of isentropic potential vorticity result from potential vorticity anomalies generated by convective heating within the ITCZ, implying that the unstable zonal flow may be caused by cumulus convection within the ITCZ and not by shear instability associated with the jet. Two additional simulations with 1988 lateral boundary conditions demonstrate that 3–5-day wave disturbances can be generated in the absence of the African easterly jet, but with unrealistically small wavelengths. These results suggest that African easterly waves are initiated by cumulus convection within the ITCZ, and not by barotropic instability associated with the jet.
ACCESSION #
17239743

 

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