A STUDY OF PLANETARY WAVES IN THE SOUTHERN WINTER TROPOSPHERE AND STRATOSPHERE. PART II: LIFE CYCLES


W. J. Randel(1) and J. L. Stanford, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011

(1) Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523


J. Atmos. Sci., 44, 936-949 (1987)


Abstract

Large-amplitude planetary waves in the southern winter stratosphere are observed to occur episodically, the result of episodic tropospheric forcing. This work is an observational study of the dynamics of the planetary waves, focusing on the evolution through a typical life cycle. Time lag correlations of wave amplitude with the Eliassen-Palm flux vector reveal the characteristic heat and momentum flux patterns associated with wave evolution. Energetic studies clearly show that the stratospheric waves can be understood in terms of a life cycle of vertical propagation from the troposphere, followed by decay from barotropic interactions with the zonal mean flow. Although usually of secondary importance, baroclinic decay of stratospheric wave energy is also observed, resulting from equatorward heat flux in the lower stratosphere. Good agreement in the energy balances discounts in situ instability in the stratosphere as a source of wave activity. An average or composite over several clearly propagating cases reveals the wave structure and evolution, and suggests a source of planetary wave activity in the upper troposphere.