Variability of mesospheric diurnal tides and tropospheric diurnal heating during 1997-1998

Ruth S. Lieberman, D. M. Riggin, D. A. Ortland, S. W. Nesbitt, R. A. Vincent

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This study focuses on interannual variations of diurnal tropospheric heating and the response in the mesosphere observed by radars and predicted by a model. The work is prompted by reports of interannual variability in amplitudes of tidal variables at low latitudes. Diurnal tides observed at Hawaii and Christmas Island exhibit a pronounced "spike" in amplitude from late 1997 to early 1998. It has been speculated that this variability may be linked to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomenon. We examine diurnal solar heating due to water vapor absorption, and diurnal latent heat release due to deep convection between 1988 and 2005. Both of these heating drives exhibit anomalously higher amplitudes in the tropical central and eastern Pacific during 1997-1998. The altered heating patterns result in a stronger forcing of the migrating diurnal tide by water vapor heating, and excitation of several weaker nonmigrating modes by latent heating. A primitive equation model is used to evaluate how these drives contribute to diurnal winds in the mesosphere. Anomalous water vapor heating results in about 15% increases in model meridional wind amplitudes over climatological values at subtropical latitudes between 300°E and the Greenwich meridian. While the timing of the model amplitude enhancements is consistent with observations at Hawaii, the observed increases are significantly stronger. Our study indicates that water vapor heating is the larger contributor to tidal enhancement observed during 1997-1998.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD20110
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 27 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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