During the northern winter the eastern Pacific is characterized by upper level westerly flow extending from the equator into the midlatitudes of both hemispheres. Theoretical and simple modeling studies suggest that such a region should favor the penetration of Rossby waves into the tropics from higher latitudes. Observational results by Kiladis and Weickmann using 200 mb data indicate that Rossby waves do indeed propagate freely into the tropical eastern Pacific during the northern winter from the Asian jet exit region. They also confirmed that cross-equatorial dispersion of energy from the Northern into the Southern Hemisphere occurs frequently. The present study examines these interactions in climatological runs of two GFDL GCMs. The northern wintertime mean states of these models are characterized by a rather realistically simulated upper level westerly regime in the tropical Pacific. Despite the relative weakness of the Asian jet and wave activity with respect to observations, propagation of Rossby waves into the tropics is present in both models, and these waves are strongly positively tilted as seen in the observations. A momentum budget of the zonal wind and E vector diagnostics over the tropical Pacific indicate that these transients are an important component of the momentum balance of the equatorial westerlies in both the observations and in the models.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science