MJO-related intraseasonal variation in the stratosphere: Gravity waves and zonal winds

Alexander M.J., A.W. Grimsdell, C.C. Stephan, and L. Hoffmann
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres , 2017

Abstract

Previous work has shown eastward migrating regions of enhanced temper- ature variance due to long-vertical wavelength stratospheric gravity waves that are in sync with intraseasonal precipitation and tropopause wind anoma- lies associated with the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). Here the origin of these intraseasonal gravity wave variations is investigated with a set of idealized gravity wave-resolving model experiments. The experiments specif- ically test whether tropopause winds act to control gravity wave propaga- tion into the stratosphere by a critical level filtering mechanism or play a role in gravity wave generation through an obstacle source effect. All experiments use identical convective latent heating variability but the large-scale hori- zontal wind profile is varied to investigate relationships between stratospheric gravity waves and zonal winds at different levels. Results show that the ob- served long vertical wavelength gravity waves are primarily sensitive to strato- spheric zonal wind variations, while tropopause wind variations have only a very small effect. Thus neither the critical level filter mechanism nor the obstacle source play much of a role in the observed intraseasonal gravity wave variations. Instead the results suggest that the stratospheric waves follow the MJO precipitation sources, and tropopause wind anomalies follow the same sources. We further find evidence of intraseasonal wave drag effects on the stratospheric circulation in reanalyzed winds. The results suggest that waves drive intraseasonal stratospheric zonal wind anomalies that descend in al- titude with increasing MJO phases 3 through 7. Eastward anomalies descend further than westward, suggesting that MJO-related stratospheric waves cause larger eastward drag forces.


Citation

Alexander M.J., A.W. Grimsdell, C.C. Stephan, and L. Hoffmann(2017), MJO-related intraseasonal variation in the stratosphere: Gravity waves and zonal winds, J. Geophys. Res., 122, doi:10.1002/2017JD027620