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A one-dimensional model of the semiannual oscillation driven by convectively forced gravity wavesA one-dimensional model that solves the time-dependent equations for the zonal mean wind and a wave of specified zonal wavenumber has been used to illustrate the ability of gravity waves forced by time-dependent tropospheric heating to produce a semiannual oscillation (SAO) in the middle atmosphere. When the heating has a strong diurnal cycle, as observed over tropical landmasses, gravity waves with zonal wavelengths of a few thousand kilometers and phase velocities in the range +/- 40-50 m/sec are excited efficiently by the maximum vertical projection criterion (vertical wavelength approximately equals 2 x forcing depth). Calculations show that these waves can account for large zonal mean wind accelerations in the middle atmosphere, resulting in realistic stratopause and mesopause oscillations. Calculations of the temporal evolution of a quasi-conserved tracer indicate strong down-welling in the upper stratosphere near the equinoxes, which is associated with the descent of the SAO westerlies. In the upper mesosphere, there is a semiannual oscillation in tracer mixing ratio driven by seasonal variability in eddy mixing, which increases at the solstices and decreases at the equinoxes.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Sassi, Fabrizio (National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO United States)
Garcia, Rolando R. (National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume: 51
Issue: 21
ISSN: 0022-4928
Subject Category
Distribution Limits