On the tropospheric response to anomalous stratospheric wave drag and radiative heating

David W. J. Thompson, Jason C. Furtado, Theodore G. Shepherd

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Observational and numerical evidence suggest that variability in the extratropical stratospheric circulation has a demonstrable impact on tropospheric variability on intraseasonal time scales. In this study, it is demonstrated that the amplitude of the observed tropospheric response to vacillations in the stratospheric flow is quantitatively similar to the zonal-mean balanced response to the anomalous wave forcing at stratospheric levels. It is further demonstrated that the persistence of the tropospheric response is consistent with the impact of anomalous diabatic heating in the polar stratosphere as stratospheric temperatures relax to climatology.

The results contradict previous studies that suggest that variations in stratospheric wave drag are too weak to account for the attendant changes in the tropospheric flow. However, the results also reveal that stratospheric processes alone cannot account for the observed meridional redistribution of momentum within the troposphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2616–2629
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2006


  • Atmospheric circulation
  • Heating
  • Stratosphere-troposphere interaction
  • Intraseasonal variability
  • atmospheric waves

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