Nonlinear forcing mechanisms of the migrating terdiurnal solar tide and their impact on the zonal mean circulation

Lilienthal, Friederike; Jacobi, Christoph

We investigate the forcing mechanisms of the terdiurnal solar tide in the middle atmosphere using a mechanistic global circulation model. In order to quantify their individual contributions, we perform several model experiments and separate each forcing mechanism by switching off the remaining sources. We find that the primary excitation is owing to the terdiurnal component of solar radiation absorption in the troposphere and stratosphere. Secondary sources are nonlinear tide–tide interactions and gravity wave–tide interactions. Thus, although the solar heating clearly dominates the terdiurnal forcing in our simulations, we find that nonlinear tidal and gravity wave interactions contribute in certain seasons and at certain altitudes. By slightly enhancing the different excitation sources, we test the sensitivity of the background circulation to these changes of the dynamics. As a result, the increase of terdiurnal gravity wave drag can strongly affect the middle and upper atmosphere dynamics, including an irregular change of the terdiurnal amplitude, a weakening of neutral winds in the thermosphere, and a significant temperature change in the thermosphere, depending on the strength of the forcing. On the contrary, the influence of nonlinear tidal interactions on the middle atmosphere background dynamics is rather small.

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Lilienthal, Friederike / Jacobi, Christoph: Nonlinear forcing mechanisms of the migrating terdiurnal solar tide and their impact on the zonal mean circulation. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Friederike Lilienthal

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