Using TRMM Latent Heat as a Source to Estimate Convection Induced Gravity Wave...

Liu, C., M. J. Alexander, J. Richter, and J. Bacmeister (2022), Using TRMM Latent Heat as a Source to Estimate Convection Induced Gravity Wave Momentum Flux in the Lower Stratosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 127, e2021JD035785, doi:10.1029/2021JD035785.

Due to a lack of observations, it is a big challenge to quantify the momentum flux transported from the troposphere into the lower stratosphere by gravity waves generated by convection. This limits our understanding of the dynamics of general circulation in the stratosphere and the realism of simulations of the Quasi Biennial Oscillation. In the past decade, some general circulation models have linked the momentum flux to the latent heating from subgrid scale convective precipitation with some success. However, there is still a large uncertainty in the sources of subgrid scale convection in these models. This study applies the links between the momentum flux and convective latent heating directly to the convective precipitation derived from 16 years of TRMM precipitation radar observations in the tropics and subtropics. The total and directional momentum flux at 100 hPa are derived at individual convective pixels by using the TRMM Spectrum Latent Heating product and large-scale wind profiles from the ERA-Interim dataset. For the first time, we are able to estimate the geographical distribution of momentum flux at 100 hPa in tropics and subtropics from the observed convective sources. The diurnal, seasonal, and interannual variations of the derived momentum flux are presented and discussed. These results could provide a reference to validate the dynamic coupling between the tropical troposphere and the stratosphere in the general circulation models.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition
Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)
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