Articles | Volume 19, issue 1
Ann. Geophys., 19, 99–114, 2001
Ann. Geophys., 19, 99–114, 2001

  31 Jan 2001

31 Jan 2001

The SAO and Kelvin waves in the EuroGRIPS GCMS and the UK Met. Office analyses

M. Amodei1, S. Pawson3,2, A. A. Scaife4, U. Langematz5, W. Lahoz6, D. M. Li4, and P. Simon1 M. Amodei et al.
  • 1CNRM, Météo France, Toulouse, France
  • 2Data Assimilation Office, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 3Universities Space Research Association, Seabrook, MD, USA
  • 4The Meteorological Office, Bracknell, UK
  • 5Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • 6Center for Global Atmospheric Modelling, University of Reading, UK
  • Correspondence to: M. Amodei, (

Abstract. We compare the tropical oscillations and planetary scale Kelvin waves in four troposphere-stratosphere climate models and the assimilated dataset produced by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO). The comparison has been made in the GRIPS framework "GCM-Reality Intercomparison Project for SPARC", where SPARC is Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate, a project of the World Climate Research Program. The four models evaluated are European members of GRIPS: the UKMO Unified Model (UM), the model of the Free University in Berlin (FUB–GCM), the ARPEGE-climat model of the French National Centre for Meteorological Research (CNRM), and the Extended UGAMP GCM (EUGCM) of the Centre for Global Atmospheric Modelling (CGAM). The integrations were performed with different, but annually periodic external conditions (e.g., sea-surface temperature, sea ice, and incoming solar radiation). The structure of the tropical winds and the strengths of the Kelvin waves are examined. In the analyses where the SAO (Semi-Annual Oscillation) and the QBO (Quasi-Biennal Oscillation) are reasonably well captured, the amplitude of these analysed Kelvin waves is close to that observed in independent data from UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite). In agreement with observations, the Kelvin waves generated in the models propagate into the middle atmosphere as wave packets, consistent with a convective forcing origin. In three of the models, slow Kelvin waves propagate too high and their amplitudes are overestimated in the upper stratosphere and in the mesosphere, the exception is the UM which has weaker waves. None of the modelled waves are sufficient to force realistic eastward phases of the QBO or SAO. Although the SAO is represented by all models, only two of them are able to generate westerlies between 10 hPa and 50 hPa. The importance of the role played in the SAO by unresolved gravity waves is emphasized. Although it exhibits some unrealistic features, the EUGCM, which includes a parametrization of gravity waves with a non-zero phase speed, is able to simulate clear easterly to westerly transitions as well as westerlies with down-ward propagation. Thermal damping is also important for the westerly forcing in the stratosphere.

Key words. Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (middle atmosphere dynamics; tropical meterology; waves and tides)