Generation of mesoscale gravity waves in upper-trophospheric jet-front systems

Fuqing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


Multiply nested mesoscale numerical simulations with horizontal resolution up to 3.3 km are performed to study the generation of mesoscale gravity waves during the life cycle of idealized baroclinic jet-front systems. Long-lived vertically propagating mesoscale gravity waves with horizontal wavelengths ∼ 100-200 km are simulated originating from the exit region of the upper-tropospheric jet streak, in a manner consistent with past observational studies. The residual ofthe nonlinear balance equation is found to be a useful index in diagnosing flow imbalance and predicting wave generation. The imbalance diagnosis and model simulations suggest that balance adjustment, as a generalization of geostrophic adjustment, is likely responsible for generating these mesoscale gravity waves. It is hypothesized that, through balance adjustment, the continuous generation of flow imbalance from the developing baroclinic wave will lead to the continuous radiation of gravity waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-457
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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