pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 118, Issue 1, pp 307–328 | Cite as

Mean meridional circulations of the stratosphere and mesosphere

  • A. J. Crane
  • J. D. Haigh
  • J. A. Pyle
  • C. F. Rogers


Observations from the Nimbus 6 pressure modulator radiometer (PMR) have been used to estimate monthly mean planetary wave fluxes of heat and momentum in the stratosphere and mesosphere. While the eddy heat fluxes play an important role in the mean meridional circulation of the winter stratosphere they are shown to be less important in the upper mesosphere. Incorporation of the observed momentum fluxes into the Oxford two-dimensional circulation model has shown that they are incapable of providing the momentum transport necessary to balance the zonal flow accelerations induced by the mean meridional motion. Other unspecified transfer processes represented by Rayleigh frictional damping of the zonal fow are shown to dominate. In contrast the observed fluxes in the stratosphere achieve the necessary redistribution of momentum. Moreover their interannual variability profoundly influences the stratospheric circulation, as demonstrated in the model by the use of two different annual sets of observed momentum fluxes. The desirability of calculating the planetary wave behaviour within the model is indicated.

Key words

Two-dimensional model Planetary waves Heat flux Momentum flux Rayleigh friction damping 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Crane
    • 1
  • J. D. Haigh
    • 1
  • J. A. Pyle
    • 1
  • C. F. Rogers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric PhysicsClarendon LaboratoryOxfordUK

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