Generation and propagation of inertia-gravity waves from vortex dipoles and jets

Shuguang Wang, Fuqing Zhang, Chris Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This study investigates gravity wave generation and propagation from jets within idealized vortex dipoles using a nonhydrostatic mesoscale model. Two types of initially balanced and localized jets induced by vortex dipoles are examined here. These jets have their maximum strength either at the surface or in the middle levels of a uniformly stratified atmosphere. Within these dipoles, inertia-gravity waves with intrinsic frequencies 1-2 times the Coriolis parameter are simulated in the jet exit region. These gravity waves are nearly phase locked with the jets as shown in previous studies, suggesting spontaneous emission of the waves by the localized jets. A ray tracing technique is further employed to investigate the propagation effects of gravity waves. The ray tracing analysis reveals strong variation of wave characteristics along ray paths due to variations (particularly horizontal variations) in the propagating environment. The dependence of wave amplitude on the jet strength (and thus on the Rossby number of the flow) is examined through experiments in which the two vortices are initially separated by a large distance but subsequently approach each other and form a vortex dipole with an associated amplifying localized jet. The amplitude of the stationary gravity waves in the simulations with 90-km grid spacing increases as the square of the Rossby number (Ro), when Ro falls in a small range of 0.05-0.15, but does so significantly more rapidly when a smaller grid spacing is used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1294-1314
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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