AbstractQuantification of inertia–gravity waves (IGWs) generated by upper-level jet-surface front systems and their parametrization in global models of the atmosphere relies on suitable methods to estimate the strength of IGWs. A “harmonic divergence analysis” (HDA) that has been previously employed for quantification of IGWs combines wave properties from linear dynamics with a sophisticated statistical analysis to provide such estimates. A question of fundamental importance that arises is how the measures of IGW activity provided by the HDA are related to the measures coming from the wave–vortex decomposition (WVD) methods. The question is addressed by employing the nonlinear balance relations of the first-order δ–γ, the Bolin–Charney, and the first- to third-order Rossby-number expansion to carry out WVD. The global kinetic energy of IGWs given by the HDA and WVD are compared in numerical simulations of moist baroclinic waves by the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model in a channel on the ƒ plane. The estimates of the HDA are found to be two to three times smaller than those of the optimal WVD. This is in part due to the absence of a well-defined scale separation between the waves and vortical flows, the IGW estimates by the HDA capturing only the dominant wave packets and with limited scales. It is also shown that the difference between the HDA and WVD estimates is related to the width of the IGW spectrum.
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 18, 2017
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