Parameterization of Strong Stratospheric Inertia–Gravity Waves Forced by Poleward-Breaking Rossby Waves

Zülicke, Christoph; Peters, Dieter
January 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Jan2008, Vol. 136 Issue 1, p98
Academic Journal
The link between poleward-breaking Rossby waves and stratospheric inertia–gravity waves is examined. With a visual inspection of Ertel’s potential vorticity maps based on ECMWF analyses it was found that Rossby wave–breaking events occurred over northern Europe in about 40% of the winter days in 1999–2003. The majority of them were breaking poleward downstream. A total of 10 field campaigns were performed in the winters of 1999–2002 at Kühlungsborn, Germany (54°N, 12°E). They are related to such events and can be considered as representative for poleward-breaking Rossby waves. Inertia–gravity wave properties are diagnosed from radiosonde observations. They appeared to be shallower, slower, and stronger than the climatological mean for the north German lowlands. Hence, Rossby wave–breaking events are linked with strong stratospheric inertia–gravity wave activity. A novel parameterization of inertia–gravity wave generation and propagation is proposed. The stratospheric inertia–gravity wave action in the 16–20-km height range was parameterized with the synoptic-scale cross-stream ageostrophic wind, which accounts for imbalances in the upper-tropospheric jet streak. This empirical relationship is supported with quasigeostrophic theory. Effects of damping and critical level absorption are taken into account with Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin theory. For verification of the parameterization with homogeneous meteorological fields in space and time, the 10 field campaigns were hindcasted with the nonhydrostatic fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model. About 80% of the variance in inertia–gravity wave action was found to be explained. For the 10 campaigns a close link was found between the poleward-breaking Rossby waves and the strong stratospheric inertia–gravity waves. The role of the polar vortex was twofold: first, it forced the poleward-oriented Rossby waves to break downstream and to form strong tropospheric jet streaks generating inertia–gravity waves. Second, the strong winds in the stratosphere favored the upward propagation of the inertia–gravity waves. The proposed new parameterization of inertia–gravity wave generation and propagation was validated and can be used to deduce mesoscale wave intensity from synoptic flow characteristics during poleward Rossby wave–breaking events.


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