Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 119, Issue 3–4, pp 757–769 | Cite as

Climatology of stratospheric gravity waves and their interaction with zonal mean wind over the tropics using GPS RO and ground-based measurements in the two phases of QBO

  • Debashis Nath
  • Wen Chen
  • Amitava Guharay
Original Paper


The present manuscript deals with the spatial distribution of gravity wave activity over the tropics using ten years (2001–2010) of CHAllenging Mini Payloads (CHAMP) and Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) Global Positioning System (GPS) Radio Occultation (RO) data and ground-based radiosonde measurements over an equatorial station Singapore (1.36°N, 103.98°E) and four tropical stations, Guam (13.48°N, 144.80°E), Palau (7.33°N, 134.48°E) in the northern hemisphere, Darwin (12.41°S, 130.88°E) and Pago-Pago (14.33°S, 170.71°W) in the southern hemisphere from January 2001–December 2010. It also aims to quantify the difference in wave activity in the two phases of QBO, climatologically. Space-time spectra have been constructed over a latitude band of ±10° and decomposing the CHAMP/COSMIC temperature perturbations into symmetric and antisymmetric modes about the equator. Clear signature of equatorial waves with higher wavelength and a constant background of gravity waves (GW) with inertial frequency are prominent in the spectra. Strong GW and mean flow interaction can be seen in the lower stratosphere potential energy density (E P) and momentum flux with enhanced wave activity during the westerly (eastward wind) phase of quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) (WQBO) over the equatorial and tropical stations like Singapore and Palau/Darwin, respectively. From the latitudinal distribution of energy density, the occurrence of two-peak structure in energy density can be seen in the middle and lower latitudes with an enhancement during the WQBO phase. The E P associated with GWs are calculated at lower stratospheric (19–26 km) heights and are compared with outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) to correlate the wave events with tropical deep convection during the easterly, i.e. westward wind (EQBO) and WQBO phases of QBO. Clear coherence of convection due to Asian summer monsoon with localized enhancement of wave activity over Western Pacific, South America and African region during the WQBO phase is observed at the lower stratospheric heights. Significant enhancement is observed during Northern Hemisphere winter months and minimum during summer. The longitudinally elongated portion of E P over the equator is partially affected by Kelvin wave (KW) like disturbances with short vertical scales and also by inertia GW.


Gravity Wave Zonal Wind Momentum Flux Outgoing Longwave Radiation Lower Stratosphere 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are thankful to the UCAR & RISH, Kyoto University, NCEP-NCAR, ECMWF and Wyoming University upper air sounding data archival for providing the CHAMP/COSMIC data, OLR data, zonal wind data and Singapore, Palau, Guam, Darwin and Pago-Pago radiosonde data, respectively. This work is supported jointly by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41250110073, 41350110331), the Chinese Academy of Sciences fellowships for young international scientists (2011Y2ZZB05) and China postdoctoral science foundation grant (2013 M541010). We sincerely thank Dr. Yoshio Kawatani of JAMSTEC, Japan and Dr. S.P. Alexander from Australian Antarctic Division for their suggestions to derive the space-time spectra.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Monsoon System Research, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.National Institute for Space Research, INPESao Jose dos CamposBrazil

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