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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 2
Ann. Geophys., 16, 250-265, 1998
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-998-0250-3
© European Geosciences Union 1998
Ann. Geophys., 16, 250-265, 1998
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-998-0250-3
© European Geosciences Union 1998

  28 Feb 1998

28 Feb 1998

Climatological Ertel's potential-vorticity flux and mean meridional circulation in the extratropical troposphere − lower stratosphere

J. Bartels2, D. Peters1, and G. Schmitz1 J. Bartels et al.
  • 1Institut für Atmosphärenphysik an der Universität Rostock, Schlossstr. 6, D-18225 Ostseebad Kühlungsborn, Germany
  • 2Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Bodenforschung − Geowissenschaftliche Gemeinschaftsaufgaben, Postfach 51 01 53, D-30631 Hannover, Germany

Abstract. We investigated to what extent the isentropic, non-geostrophic formulation of zonally averaged circulation derived for stratospheric conditions is applicable to climatological transport in the extratropical troposphere and lower stratosphere. The study is based on 10 years of daily data of ECMWF analysis and on the ECHAM3 climate model of the German Climate Computing Centre. The main result is a scalar isentropic mixing coefficient, Kyy, and a mean meridional transport circulation consistently derived from the same data base. For both data sources, isentropic mean meridional circulation is derived from horizontal mass flow rate for 4 representative months. Alternatively, a mean meridional circulation is calculated from total diabatic heating rates of the ECHAM3 model. It is shown that only the latter is in good agreement with the ECMWF mean meridional circulation. Isentropic analysis also comprises the seasonal cycle of the climatological meridional gradient and flux of Ertel's potential vorticity (PV). Application of Tung's flux-gradient relation yields that for all seasons Kyy is positive in height-latitude regions where statistical significance is reached. Large Kyy values, marking regions of more efficient mixing, have been found in the subtropical vertical band of weak westerly wind and in mid-latitudes in regions of upward-propagating baroclinic wave activity in the middle and upper troposphere. Based on the ECMWF data and results of baroclinic-wave behaviour, strong indications are presented that positive zonally averaged PV flux polewards of the jet core in the NH is strengthened by stationary waves and nonlinear effects. Reduced eddy transport is apparent in winter and spring slightly below the subtropical tropopause jet. The seasonal cycle of Kyy from ECHAM3 data is to a great extent in agreement with the result based on ECMWF analysis. In the model, reduced interannual variability enlarges the height-latitude range where sign of Kyy is significant.

Key words. Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics · Climatology · General circulation · Middle atmosphere is significant.

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