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Spatio-Temporal Evolutions of Non-Orthogonal Equatorial Wave Modes Derived from Observations

Title: Spatio-Temporal Evolutions of Non-Orthogonal Equatorial Wave Modes Derived from Observations.
Name(s): Barton, Cory, author
Cai, Ming, professor directing dissertation
Niu, Xufeng, university representative
Clarke, Allan J., committee member
Speer, Kevin G. (Kevin George), committee member
Sura, Philip, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Arts and Sciences, degree granting college
Program in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2016
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (98 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Equatorial waves have been studied extensively due to their importance to the tropical climate and weather systems. Historically, their activity is diagnosed mainly in the wavenumber-frequency domain. Recently, many studies have projected observational data onto parabolic cylinder functions (PCFs), which represent the meridional structure of individual wave modes, to attain time-dependent spatial wave structures. The non-orthogonality of wave modes has yet posed a problem when attempting to separate data into wave fields where the waves project onto the same structure functions. We propose the development and application of a new methodology for equatorial wave expansion of instantaneous flows using the full equatorial wave spectrum. By creating a mapping from the meridional structure function amplitudes to the equatorial wave class amplitudes, we are able to diagnose instantaneous wave fields and determine their evolution. Because all meridional modes are shared by some subset of the wave classes, we require constraints on the wave class amplitudes to yield a closed system with a unique solution for all waves' spatial structures, including IG waves. A synthetic field is analyzed using this method to determine its accuracy for data of a single vertical mode. The wave class spectra diagnosed using this method successfully match the correct dispersion curves even if the incorrect depth is chosen for the spatial decomposition. In the case of more than one depth scale, waves with varying equivalent depth may be similarly identified using the dispersion curves. The primary vertical mode is the 200 m equivalent depth mode, which is that of the peak projection response. A distinct spectral power peak along the Kelvin wave dispersion curve for this value validates our choice of equivalent depth, although the possibility of depth varying with time and height is explored. The wave class spectra diagnosed assuming this depth scale mostly match their expected dispersion curves, showing that this method successfully partitions the wave spectra by calculating wave amplitudes in physical space. This is particularly striking because the time evolution, and therefore the frequency characteristics, is determined simply by a timeseries of independently-diagnosed instantaneous horizontal fields. We use the wave fields diagnosed by this method to study wave evolution in the context of the stratospheric QBO of zonal wind, confirming the continuous evolution of the selection mechanism for equatorial waves in the middle atmosphere. The amplitude cycle synchronized with the background zonal wind as predicted by QBO theory is present in the wave class fields even though the dynamics are not forced by the method itself. We have additionally identified a time-evolution of the zonal wavenumber spectrum responsible for the amplitude variability in physical space. Similar to the temporal characteristics, the vertical structures are also the result of a simple height cross-section through multiple independently-diagnosed levels.
Identifier: FSU_2016SP_Barton_fsu_0071E_13099 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2016.
Date of Defense: March 23, 2016.
Keywords: QBO, Tropics, Waves
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Ming Cai, Professor Directing Dissertation; Xufeng Niu, University Representative; Allan Clarke, Committee Member; Kevin Speer, Committee Member; Philip Sura, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Atmospheric sciences
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

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Barton, C. (2016). Spatio-Temporal Evolutions of Non-Orthogonal Equatorial Wave Modes Derived from Observations. Retrieved from