Relationship between tropical and extratropical diabatic heating and their impact on stationary–transient wave interference

Mingyu Park, Sukyoung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


During boreal winter, the climatological stationary wave plays a key role in the poleward transport of heat in mid- and high latitudes. Latent heating is an important driver of boreal-winter stationary waves. In this study, the temporal relationship between tropical and extratropical heating and transient–stationary wave interference is investigated by performing observational data analyses and idealized model experiments. In line with stationary wave theory, the observed heating anomaly fields during constructive interference events have a spatial structure that reinforces the zonal asymmetry of the climatological heating field. The observational analysis shows that about 10 days prior to constructive interference events, tropical heating anomalies are established, and within 1 week North Pacific and then North Atlantic heating anomalies follow. This result suggests that constructive interference involves a heating–circulation relay: tropical latent heating drives circulation anomalies that transport moisture in such a manner as to increase latent heating in the North Pacific; circulation anomalies driven by this North Pacific heating similarly lead to enhanced latent heating in the North Atlantic. This heating–circulation relay picture is supported by initial-value model calculations in which the observed heating anomalies are used to drive model circulations. Our results also show that the constructive interference driven by both tropical and extratropical diabatic heating generates a relatively large-amplitude wave in high latitudes and leads to particularly prolonged Arctic warming episodes, whereas when both the tropical and extratropical diabatic heating are weak, constructive interference is confined to midlatitudes and does not lead to Arctic warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2617-2633
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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