Dynamical processes of equatorial atmospheric angular momentum

Steven B. Feldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The dynamical processes that drive intraseasonal equatorial atmospheric angular momentum (EAAM) fluctuations are examined with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP-NCAR) reanalysis data. The primary methodology involves the regression of relevant variables including the equatorial bulge, mountain, and friction torques, surface pressure, streamfunction, and outgoing longwave radiation, against the time derivative of the two components and the amplitude of the EAAM vector. The results indicate t hat the observed 10-day westward rotation of the EAAM vector corresponds to the propagation of a zonal wavenumber-1, antisymmetric, Rossby wave normal mode. Additional findings suggest that fluctuations in the amplitude of the EAAM vector are driven by poleward-propagating Rossby waves excited by the latent heating within equatorial mixed Rossby-gravity waves and also by wave-wave interaction among planetary waves. Both of these processes can induce surface pressure anomalies that amplify the EAAM vector via the equatorial bulge torque. The Antarctic and Greenland mountain torques were found to drive large fluctuations in the amplitude of the EAAM vector. Both the friction torque and wave-zonal-mean flow interaction were shown to dampen the EAAM amplitude fluctuations. A comparison of the EAAM dynami cs in the atmosphere with that in an aquaplanet GCM suggests that the mountain torque also drives fluctuations in the phase speed of the atmospheric wave field associated with the EAAM vector, and it confines the wave-wave interaction to planetary scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-581
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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