Influence of the spatial distribution of gravity wave activity on the middle atmospheric dynamics
Abstract. Analysing GPS radio occultation density profiles, we have recently pointed out a localised area of enhanced gravity wave (GW) activity and breaking in the lower stratosphere of the east Asian–northwestern Pacific (EA/NP) region. With a mechanistic model of the middle and upper atmosphere, experiments are performed to study the possible effect of such a localised GW breaking region on large-scale circulation and transport and, more generally, a possible influence of the spatial distribution of gravity wave activity on middle atmospheric dynamics.
The results indicate the important role of the spatial distribution of GW activity for polar vortex stability, formation of planetary waves and for the strength and structure of zonal-mean residual circulation. Furthermore, a possible effect of a zonally asymmetric GW breaking in the longitudinal variability of the Brewer–Dobson circulation is analysed. Finally, consequences of our results for a variety of research topics (e.g. sudden stratospheric warming, atmospheric blocking, teleconnection patterns and a compensation mechanism between resolved and unresolved drag) are discussed.