Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 471–483

The East Pacific Wavetrain: Its variability and impact on the atmospheric circulation in the boreal winter

  • Putian Zhou (周普天)
  • Lingling Suo (所玲玲)
  • Jiacan Yuan (袁嘉灿)
  • Benkui Tan (谭本馗)


The East Pacific wavetrain (EPW) refers to here the intense stationary wave activity detected in the troposphere over the East Pacific and North America in 45 northern winters from 1958 to 2002. The EPW is generated in the lower troposphere over the East Pacific, propagating predominantly eastward into North America and slightly upward then eventually into the stratosphere. The intensity of the EPW varies from year to year and exhibits apparent decadal variability. For the period 1958–1964, the EPW was in its second maximum, and it was weakest for the period 1965–1975, then it was strongest for the period 1976–1987. After 1987, the EPW weakened again.

The intensity and position of the members (i.e., the Aleutian low, the North American trough, and the North American ridge) of the EPW oscillate from time to time. For an active EPW versus a weak EPW, the Aleutian low deepens abnormally and shifts its center from the west to the east of the date line, in the middle and upper troposphere the East Asian trough extends eastward, and the Canadian ridge intensifies at the same time. The opposite is true for a weak EPW. Even in the lower stratosphere, significant changes in the stationary wave pattern are also observed.

Interestingly the spatial variability of the EPW assumes a Pacific-North American (PNA)-like teleconnection pattern. It is likely that the PNA low-frequency oscillation is a reflection of the oscillations of intensity and position of the members of the EPW in horizontal direction.

Key words

East Pacific wavetrain stationary waves vertical propagation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ambaum, M. H., and B. J. Hoskins, 2002: The NAO troposphere-stratosphere connection. J. Climate, 15, 1969–1978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrews, D. G., and M. E. McIntyre, 1976: Planetary waves in horizontal and vertical shear: The generalized Eliassen-Palm relation and the mean zonal acceleration. J. Atmos. Sci., 33, 2031–2048.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrews, D. G., J. R. Holton, and C. B. Leovy, 1987: Middle Atmosphere Dynamics. Academic Press, INC, 504pp.Google Scholar
  4. Baldwin, M. P., and T. J. Dunkerton, 2001: Stratospheric harbingers of anomalous weather regimes. Science, 294, 581–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Black, R. X., 2002: Stratospheric forcing of surface climate in the Arctic oscillation. J. Climate, 15, 268–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Charney, J. G., and A. Eliassen, 1949: A numerical method for predicting the perturbations of the middle latitude westerlies. Tellus, 1, 38–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Charney, J. G., and P. G. Drazin, 1961: Propagation of planetary-scale disturbances from the lower into the upper atmosphere. J. Geophys. Res., 66, 83–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen, W., and K. Wei, 2009: Interannual variability of the winter stratospheric polar vortex in the northern hemisphere and their relations to QBO and ENSO. Adv. Atmos. Sci., 26(5), 855–863, doi: 10.1007/s00376-009-8168-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen, W., M. Takahashi, and H.-F. Graf, 2003: Interannual variations of stationary planetary wave activity in the northern winter troposphere and stratosphere and their relations to NAM and SST. J. Geophys. Res., 108, 4797, doi: 10.1029/2003JD003834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dickinson, R. E., 1968: Planetary Rossby waves propagating vertically through weak westerly wind wave guides. J. Atmos. Sci., 25, 984–1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dunkerton, T. J., and M. P. Baldwin, 1991: Quasibiennial modulation of planetary wave fluxes in the northern hemisphere winter. J. Atmos. Sci., 48, 1043–1061.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hartmann, D. L., J. M. Wallace, V. Limpasuvan, D. W. J. Thompson, and J. R. Holton, 2000: Can ozone depletion and global warming interact to produce rapid climate change? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 97, 1412–1417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Haynes, P., 2005: Stratospheric dynamics. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 37, 263–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Held, I. M., 1983: Stationary and quasi-stationary eddies in the extratropical troposphere: Theory. Large-Scale Dynamical Processes in the Atmosphere, Hoskins and Pearce, Academic Press, 127–168.Google Scholar
  15. Held, I. M., M. Ting, and H. Wang, 2002: Northern winter stationary waves: Theory and modeling. J. Climate, 15, 2125–2144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huang, R. H., and K. Gambo, 1982: The response of a hemispheric multilevel model atmosphere to forcing by topography and stationary heat sources. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 60, 78–108.Google Scholar
  17. Huang, R. H., and K. Gambo, 1983: On other wave guide in stationary planetary wave propagations in the winter Northern Hemisphere. Science in China, 26, 940–950.Google Scholar
  18. Itoh, H., and K.-I. Harada, 2004: Coupling between troposphere and stratosphere leading modes. J. Climate, 17, 320–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kodera, K., H. Mukougawa, and S. Itoh, 2008: Tropospheric impact of reflected planetary waves from the stratosphere. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L16806, doi: 10.1029/2008GL034575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kuroda, Y., and K. Kodera, 1999: Role of planetary waves in the stratosphere-troposphere coupled variability in the northern hemisphere winter. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 2375–2378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Limpasuvan, V., and D. L. Hartmann, 2000: Wavemaintained annular modes of climate variability. J. Climate, 13, 4414–4429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Matsuno, T., 1970: Vertical propagation of stationary planetary waves in the winter northern hemisphere. J. Atmos. Sci., 27, 871–883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Matsuno, T., 1971: A dynamical model of the stratospheric sudden warming. J. Atmos. Sci., 28, 1479–1494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Namias, J., X. Yuan, and D. R. Cayan, 1988: Persistence of North Pacific sea surface temperature and atmospheric flow patterns. J. Climate, 1, 682–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nitta, T., and S. Yamada, 1989: Recent warming of tropic sea surface temperature and its relationship to the Northern Hemisphere circulations. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 67, 375–383.Google Scholar
  26. Perlwitz, J., and H.-F. Graf, 2001: Tropospherestratosphere dynamic coupling under strong and weak polar vortex conditions. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 271–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Perlwitz, J., and N. Harnik, 2004: Downward coupling between the stratosphere and troposphere: The relative roles of wave and zonal mean processes. J. Climate, 17, 4902–4909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Plumb, R. A., 1985: On the three-dimensional propagation of stationary waves. J. Atmos. Sci., 42, 217–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Randel, W. J., and D. L. Williamson, 1990: A comparison of the climate simulated by the NCAR Community Climate Model (CCM1:R15) with ECMWF analyses. J. Climate, 3, 608–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Smagorinsky, J., 1953: The dynamical influence of largescale heat sources and sinks on the quasi-stationary mean motions of the atmosphere. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 79, 342–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Suo, L. L., 2008: Diagnostic study on the mechanisms of the stratosphere polar vortex influencing the troposphere. Ph.D. dissertation, Peking University, 100pp. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  32. Trenberth, K. E., and J. W. Hurrell, 1994: Decadal atmosphere-ocean variations in the Pacific. Climate Dyn., 9, 303–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Uppala, S. M., and Coauthors, 2005: The ERA-40 reanalysis. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 131, 2961–3012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wallace, J. M., and D. S. Gutzler, 1981: The teleconnection in the geopotential height field during the northern hemisphere winter. Mon. Wea. Rev., 109, 784–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wallace, J. M., and D. W. J. Thompson, 2002: The Pacific center of action of the northern hemisphere annular mode: Real or artifact? J. Climate, 15, 1987–1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wang, L., W. Chen, and R. Huang, 2007: Changes in the variability of North Pacific Oscillation around 1975/1976 and its relationship with East Asian winter climate. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D11110, doi: 10.1029/2006JD008054.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yang, S., and W. J. Gutowski, 1994: GCM simulations of the three-dimensional propagation of stationary waves. J. Climate, 7, 414–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Chinese National Committee for International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Science Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Putian Zhou (周普天)
    • 1
  • Lingling Suo (所玲玲)
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jiacan Yuan (袁嘉灿)
    • 1
  • Benkui Tan (谭本馗)
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of PhysicsPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing CenterBergenNorway
  3. 3.Bjerknes Center for Climate ResearchBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations