The role of planetary waves in the tropospheric jet response to stratospheric cooling

Karen L. Smith, Richard K. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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An idealized general circulation model is used to assess the importance of planetary-scale waves in determining the position of the tropospheric jet, specifically its tendency to shift poleward as winter stratospheric cooling is increased. Full model integrations are compared against integrations in which planetary waves are truncated in the zonal direction, and only synoptic-scale waves are retained. Two series of truncated integrations are considered, using (i) a modified radiative equilibrium temperature or (ii) a nudged-bias correction technique. Both produce tropospheric climatologies that are similar to the full model when stratospheric cooling is weak. When stratospheric cooling is increased, the results indicate that the interaction between planetary- and synoptic-scale waves plays an important role in determining the structure of the tropospheric mean flow and rule out the possibility that the jet shift occurs purely as a response to changes in the planetary- or synoptic-scale wave fields alone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2904-2911
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number6
Early online date19 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2016


  • Stratosphere-troposhere coupling
  • Planetary waves
  • Idealized modeling


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