Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 23197-23227, 2010
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/23197/2010/
doi:10.5194/acpd-10-23197-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Aura MLS observations of the westward-propagating s=1, 16-day planetary wave in the middle atmosphere: climatology and cross-equatorial propagation
K. A. Day1, R. E. Hibbins2, and N. J. Mitchell1
1Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, The University of Bath, BA2 7AY, UK
2British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK

Abstract. The Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the Aura satellite has been used to measure temperatures in the stratosphere, mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT). The data used here are from August 2004 to June 2010 and latitudes 75° S to 75° N. The temperature data reveal the persistent presence of a westward propagating 16-day planetary wave with zonal wavenumber 1. The wave amplitude maximises in winter in the stratosphere and MLT at middle to high latitudes, where monthly-mean amplitudes can be as large as ~8 K. Significant wave amplitudes are observed in the summer-time MLT and at lower stratospheric heights of up to ~20 km at middle to high latitudes. Wave amplitudes in the Northern Hemisphere approach values twice as large as those in the Southern Hemisphere. Wave amplitudes are also closely related to climatological zonal winds and are largest in regions of strongest eastward flow. There is a~reduction in wave amplitudes at the stratopause. No significant wave amplitude is observed near the equator or in the strongly westward background winds of the atmosphere in summer. This behaviour is interpreted as a consequence of wave/mean-flow interactions. It has been suggested that the summer-time 16-day wave in the MLT is ducted across the equator from the winter hemisphere and that this ducting is modulated by the equatorial Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) in the westerly phase. Here we observe that the QBO modulates the 16-day wave in the polar summer-time MLT in the Northern Hemisphere as previously observed, but this modulation is not seen in the Southern Hemisphere.

Citation: Day, K. A., Hibbins, R. E., and Mitchell, N. J.: Aura MLS observations of the westward-propagating s=1, 16-day planetary wave in the middle atmosphere: climatology and cross-equatorial propagation, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 23197-23227, doi:10.5194/acpd-10-23197-2010, 2010.
 
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