Valentino Neduhal

and 4 more

The paper presents a new method for the decomposition of the horizontal wind divergence among the linear wave solutions on the sphere: inertia-gravity (IG), mixed Rossby-gravity (MRG), Kelvin and Rossby waves. The work is motivated by the need to quantify the vertical velocity and momentum fluxes in the tropics where the distinction between the Rossby and gravity regime, present in the extratropics, becomes obliterated. The new method decomposes divergence and its power spectra as a function of latitude and pressure level. Its application on ERA5 data in August 2018 reveals that the Kelvin and MRG waves made about 6% of the total divergence power in the upper troposphere within 10S-10N, that is about 25% of divergence. Their contribution at individual zonal wavenumbers k can be much larger; for example, Kelvin waves made up to 24% of divergence power at synoptic k in August 2018. The relatively small roles of the Kelvin and MRG waves in tropical divergence power are explained by decomposing their kinetic energies into rotational and divergent parts. The Rossby wave divergence power is 0.3-0.4% at most, implying up to 6% of global divergence due to the beta effect. The remaining divergence is about equipartitioned between the eastward- and westward-propagating IG modes in the upper troposphere, whereas the stratospheric partitioning depends on the background zonal flow. This work is a step towards a unified decomposition of the momentum fluxes that supports the coexistence of different wave species in the tropics in the same frequency and wavenumber bands.