Influence of the SST rise on baroclinic instability wave activity under an aquaplanet condition

Chihiro Kodama, Toshiki Iwasaki

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of the sea surface temperature (SST) rise on extratropical baroclinic instability wave activity is investigated using an aquaplanet general circulation model (GCM). Two types of runs were performed: the High+3 run, in which the SST is increased by 3 K only at high latitudes, and the All+3 run, in which the SST is increased uniformly by 3 K all over the globe. These SST rises were intended to reproduce essential changes of the surface air temperature due to global warming. Wave activity changes are analyzed and discussed from the viewpoint of the energetics. In the High+3 run, midlatitude meridional temperature gradient is decreased in the lower troposphere and the wave energy is suppressed in the extratropics. In the All+3 run, although the large tropical latent heat release greatly enhances the midlatitude meridional temperature gradient in the upper troposphere, global mean wave energy does not change significantly. These results suggest that the low-level baroclinicity is much more important for baroclinic instability wave activity than upper-level baroclinicity. A poleward shift of wave energy, seen in global warming simulations, is evident in the All+3 run. Wave energy generation analysis suggests that the poleward shift of wave activity may be caused by the enhanced and poleward-shifted baroclinicity in the higher latitudes and the increased static stability in the lower latitudes. Poleward expansion of the high-baroclinicity region is still an open question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2272-2287
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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