Characteristics of mid-latitude planetary waves in the lower atmosphere derived from radiosonde data

Wang, R.; Zhang, S. D.; Yang, H. G.; Huang, K. M.

The activities of mid-latitude planetary waves (PWs) in the troposphere and lower stratosphere (TLS) are presented by using the radiosonde data from 2000 to 2004 over four American stations (Miramar Nas, 32.9° N, 117.2° W; Santa Teresa, 31.9° N, 106.7° W; Fort Worth, 32.8° N, 97.3° W; and Birmingham, 33.1° N, 86.7° W) and one Chinese station (Wuhan, 30.5° N, 114.4° E). Statistically, strong PWs mainly appear around subtropical jet stream in the troposphere and lower stratosphere. In the troposphere, the activities of the mid-latitude PWs are strong around the centre of the subtropical jet stream in winter and become small near the tropopause, which indicates that the subtropical jet stream may strengthen the propagation of PWs or even be one of the PW excitation sources. Among the three disturbance components of temperature, zonal and meridional winds, PWs at Wuhan are stronger in the temperature component, but weaker in the zonal wind component than at the other four American stations. While in the meridional wind component, the strengths of PW spectral amplitudes at the four American stations decrease from west to east, and their amplitudes are all larger than that of Wuhan. However, the PWs are much weaker in the stratosphere and only the lower frequency parts remain. The amplitudes of the PWs in the stratosphere increase with height and are strong in winter with the zonal wind component being the strongest. Using the refractive index, we found that whether the PWs could propagate upward to the stratosphere depends on the thickness of the tropopause reflection layer. In the case study of the 2000/2001 winter, it is observed that the quasi 16-day wave in the troposphere is a quasi standing wave in the vertical direction and propagates upward slowly with vertical wavelength greater than 24 km in the meridional component. It propagates eastward with the zonal numbers between 5 and 8, and the quasi 16-day wave at Wuhan is probably the same quasi 16-day wave at the three American stations (Miramar Nas, Santa Teresa and Fort Worth), which propagates steadily along the latitude. The quasi 16-day wave in the stratosphere is also a standing wave with vertical wavelength larger than 10 km in the zonal wind component, and it is westward with the zonal number 1–2. However, the quasi 16-day wave in the stratosphere may not come from the troposphere because of the different concurrent times, propagation directions and velocities. By using the global dataset of NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data, the zonal propagation parameters of 16-day waves in the troposphere and stratosphere are calculated. It is found that the tropospheric 16-day wave propagates eastward with the zonal number 6, while the stratospheric 16-day wave propagates westward with the zonal number 2, which matches well with the results of radiosonde data.

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Wang, R. / Zhang, S. D. / Yang, H. G. / et al: Characteristics of mid-latitude planetary waves in the lower atmosphere derived from radiosonde data. 2012. Copernicus Publications.

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