The nonlinear interaction of barotropic and equatorial baroclinic Rossby waves

Andrew J. Majda, Joseph A. Biello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Simplified asymptotic equations are developed for the nonlinear interaction of long-wavelength equatorial Rossby waves and barotropic Rossby waves with a significant midlatitude projection in the presence of suitable horizontally and vertically sheared zonal mean flows. The simplified equations allow for nonlinear energy exchange between the barotropic Rossby waves and the baroclinic equatorial waves for nonzero zonal mean vertical shear through wave-wave interactions. Idealized examples in the model demonstrate that midlatitude Rossby wave trains in a baroclinic mean shear can transfer their energy to localized equatorially trapped baroclinic Rossby waves through a nonlinear "westerly wind burst" mechanism. Conversely, equatorially trapped baroclinic Rossby wave trains in the idealized model can transfer substantial energy to the midlatitude barotropic Rossby waves. From the viewpoint of applied mathematics, the asymptotic equations derived here have several novel features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1809-1821
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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