Investigation of the Poleward Propagation of the Zonal Mean Flow

Project: Research project

Project Details


The objective of this project is to determine the dynamical mechanisms responsible for the poleward propagation of zonal mean flow anomalies, where the anomaly is defined as the deviation from the climatological flow. The phenomenon has been identified in both observational and numerical model studies. A recent observational study showed that this phenomenon is ubiquitous, appearing in both the summer and winter seasons of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. There are reasons to suspect this phenomenon may be an important part of well-known low-frequency anomalies or teleconnection patterns, particularly the so-called Arctic Oscillation.

Inspired by a recent study on the impact of the Hadley circulation on Rossby wave dynamics, Dr. Lee developed a hypothesis for the mechanism that drives the poleward propagation. The essence of the hypothesis is based on the premise that anomalous baroclinic wave fluxes drive an anomalous Hadley circulation, and this in turn influences the latitude at which subsequent baroclinic wave breaking occurs. The theory of wave-mean flow interaction says that this process must alter the meridional distribution of the zonal mean flow change, which was initially driven by the eddy fluxes. This research will explore how this process can cause the poleward propagation of the zonal mean flow eddies. The investigation will be done through both observational data analysis and numerical modeling experiments.

Effective start/end date8/1/007/31/04


  • National Science Foundation: $229,500.00


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