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Journal Article

Gravity waves from fronts: Parameterization and middle atmosphere response in a general circulation model


Charron,  M.
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;


Manzini,  Elisa       
The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Charron, M., & Manzini, E. (2002). Gravity waves from fronts: Parameterization and middle atmosphere response in a general circulation model. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 59, 923-941. doi:10.1175/1520-0469(2002)059<0923:GWFFPA>2.0.CO;2.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-02A7-1
Current parameterizations of the gravity wave processes that are relevant to middle atmosphere general circulation modeling need to have specified somewhere in the lower atmosphere a number of characteristics of the gravity wave spectrum that arise from different possible gravity wave sources (i.e., the so-called gravity wave source spectrum). The aim of this study is to take into account in the specification of the gravity wave source spectrum a space and time modulation of the gravity wave wind variance and propagation direction associated with the occurrence of frontal systems. Given that fronts are poorly resolved at the truncations commonly used in middle atmosphere models (typically T21-T42), first a method is devised to diagnose conditions that are considered to be the precursor of frontogenesis in a space and time-dependent low-resolution flow. This is achieved by evaluating horizontal isotherm compression due to flow deformation and convergence. Second, when particular conditions are satisfied, the precursor to frontogenesis is used as an indicator of subgrid-scale gravity wave emission in the model. Third, the wind variance and the propagation direction of the gravity waves at the source level are specified according to empirical evidences of frontal generation of gravity waves. The MAECHAM4 middle atmosphere response to this gravity wave forcing is presented. The study is restricted to fronts since they are thought to be one of the major nonstationary gravity wave sources in the extratropics, other gravity wave source mechanisms being left for later examination.