Modulation of internal gravity waves in a multiscale model for deep convection on mesoscales

Daniel Ruprecht, Rupert Klein, Andrew J. Majda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Starting from the conservation laws for mass, momentum, and energy together with a three-species bulk microphysics model, a model for the interaction of internal gravity waves and deep convective hot towers is derived using multiscale asymptotic techniques. From the leading-order equations, a closed model for the large-scale flow is obtained analytically by applying horizontal averages conditioned on the small-scale hot towers. No closure approximations are required besides adopting the asymptotic limit regime on which the analysis is based. The resulting model is an extension of the anelastic equations linearized about a constant background flow. Moist processes enter through the area fraction of saturated regions and through two additional dynamic equations describing the coupled evolution of the conditionally averaged small-scale vertical velocity and buoyancy.Atwo-way coupling between the large-scale dynamics and these small-scale quantities is obtained: moisture reduces the effective stability for the large-scale flow, and microscale up-and downdrafts define a large-scale averaged potential temperature source term. In turn, large-scale vertical velocities induce small-scale potential temperature fluctuations due to the discrepancy in effective stability between saturated and nonsaturated regions. The dispersion relation and group velocity of the system are analyzed and moisture is found to have several effects: (i) it reduces vertical energy transport by waves, (ii) it increases vertical wavenumbers but decreases the slope at which wave packets travel, (iii) it introduces a new lower horizontal cutoff wavenumber in addition to the well-known high wavenumber cutoff, and (iv)moisture can cause critical layers. Numerical examples reveal the effects of moisture on steady-state and time-dependent mountain waves in the present hot-tower regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2504-2519
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Convection
  • Gravity waves
  • Interenal waves
  • Mesoscale processes
  • Moisture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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