Mass-weighted isentropic zonal mean equatorward flow in the northern hemispheric winter

Toshiki Iwasaki, Yasushi Mochizuki

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25 Citations (Scopus)


In the diagnosis of mass-weighted isentropic zonal mean (MIM), the mean- meridional circulation has a strong extratropical direct (ETD) cell in the northern- hemispheric winter, which turns from downward to equatorward around 45°N and isentropic zonal mean pressure of 850 hPa. The January mean equatorward flow in the extratopical lower troposphere is almost in balance with Eliassen-Palm (E-P) flux divergence for both climatology and interannual variability. This means that the zonal mean equatorward flow in the extratropical lower troposphere is the wave-induced circulation as well as the poleward flow in the stratosphere is. The interannual variation of January mean mass stream functions at (45°N, 850 hPa) positively (negatively) correlates with the zonal mean temperature in the lower troposphere north (south) of about 45°N, respectively. This is consistent with a simple thermodynamic consideration that the strong ETD circulation adiabatically warms up the lower troposphere due to the descending flow in the higher latitudes but cools it down due to the heat advection by the equatorward flow in the middle latitudes (~35°N).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-118
Number of pages4
JournalScientific Online Letters on the Atmosphere
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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