Convectively coupled waves propagating along an equatorial ITCZ

Juliana Dias, Olivier Pauluis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dynamics of convectively coupled gravity waves traveling over a precipitating region are analyzed in an idealized model for the large-scale atmospheric circulation. The model is composed of a shallow water system coupled to an advection equation for moisture through the convection term, utilizing a quasi-equilibrium relaxation to moisture closure. Here the authors investigate the model in the strict quasi-equilibrium (SQE) of infinitely short relaxation time. This framework is applied to study the behavior of a disturbance propagating along a narrow precipitation band, similar to the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). For an ITCZ width on the order of the equatorial Rossby radius, Kelvin waves propagate at the moist gravity wave speed (about 15 m s-1), whereas for a narrow ITCZ, the propagation speed is comparable to the dry gravity wave (about 50 m s-1). It is also shown that a Kelvin wave propagating along a narrow precipitation region exhibits a meridional circulation that modulates the precipitation rate and affects the propagation speed of the wave.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2237-2255
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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