What is the source of the stratospheric gravity wave belt in austral winter?

Friday, 19 December 2014
Eric A Hendricks1, James D Doyle2, Stephen D Eckermann3, Qingfang Jiang2 and Alex Reinecke2, (1)Naval Research Lab Monterey, Monterey, CA, United States, (2)NRL, Monterey, CA, United States, (3)Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, United States
During austral winter, and away from orographic maxima or “hot spots,” stratospheric gravity waves in both satellite observations and Interim European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) data reveal enhanced amplitudes in a broad midlatitude belt extending across the Southern Ocean from east of the Andes to south of New Zealand. The peak latitude of this feature slowly migrates poleward from 50° to 60°S. Wave amplitudes are much weaker across the midlatitude Pacific Ocean. These features of the wave field are in striking agreement with diagnostics of baroclinic growth rates in the troposphere associated with midlatitude winter storm tracks and the climatology of the midlatitude jet. This correlation suggests that these features of the stratospheric gravity wave field are controlled by geographical variations of tropospheric nonorographic gravity wave sources in winter storm tracks: spontaneous adjustment emission from the midlatitude winter jet, frontogenesis, and convection.