Weird science: 'the equator serves as a waveguide that houses a zoo of all kinds of atmospheric waves'

Identifying individual atmospheric equatorial waves from a total flow field


Owing to the opposite vertical orientation with respect to the plane of Earth’s rotation across the equator from the Southern Hemisphere to Northern Hemisphere, the equator serves as a waveguide that houses a zoo of all kinds of atmospheric waves propagating along the west-east direction, which are referred to as “equatorial waves”. Equatorial waves are generated from spatially non-uniform diabatic heating fields, including latent heating releases from convective storms. These equatorial waves in turn initiate and organize new convections as they propagate out of their genesis locations, triggering a new set of equatorial waves propagating both eastwards and westwards along the equator. As a result, equatorial waves play important roles in organizing large-scale circulation disturbances and regulating large-scale diabatic heating patterns in tropics.

From Wikipedia:

Equatorial waves are ocean waves trapped close to the equator, meaning that they decay rapidly away from the equator, but can propagate in the longitudinal and vertical directions.[1] Wave trapping is the result of the Earth’s rotation and its spherical shape which combine to cause the magnitude of the Coriolis force to increase rapidly away from the equator. Equatorial waves are present in both the tropical atmosphere and ocean and play an important role in the evolution of many climate phenomena such as El Niño. Many physical processes may excite equatorial waves including, in the case of the atmosphere, diabatic heat release associated with cloud formation, and in the case of the ocean, anomalous changes in the strength or direction of the trade winds.

On intraseasonal time scales or longer, equatorial waves play critical roles in several prominent low-frequency oscillations that have far-reaching consequences for Earth’s global weather and climate, including the Madden-Julian Oscillation in the tropical troposphere, Quasi-Biennial Oscillation in the equatorial stratosphere, and El Niño-Southern Oscillation over the equatorial Pacific basin.

“The accuracy of extended-range forecasts therefore hinges on the faithful representation of these equatorial waves in numerical models,” explains Dr. Ming Cai from Florida State University, the corresponding author of a recently published study in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. “For this reason, equatorial waves have been a target of atmospheric research for many decades.”

The paper presents a method for identifying individual equatorial waves in wind and geopotential height fields using horizontal wave structures derived from classical equatorial wave theory. This approach, named the “Equatorial Wave Expansion of Instantaneous Flows (EWEIF)” method, decomposes instantaneous flow fields into its constituent equatorial waves.

According to Dr. Cory Barton, the first author of the study, the benefit of using EWEIF over a traditional spectral analysis technique is its primary strength; namely, that the decomposition requires only a single snapshot of the atmospheric state without using temporal or spatial filtering a priori. Applying EWEIF analysis to flow fields at different times can be used to obtain the temporal and spatial evolution characteristics of equatorial waves, including their initiations, propagations, and amplitude vacillations, as well as their interactions with tropical convections and ever-changing background flow.

“Along with validating current theories for weather and climate variability, EWEIF allows us to address several pertinent questions regarding the configuration and strength of the wave spectrum, the evolution of the waves from genesis to breaking, and their interactions with the background flow,” Dr. Barton concludes. “Answering these questions has the potential to advance not only our understanding of the tropics, but also our predictive skill for the global atmosphere.”

The study is published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.


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August 19, 2017 6:27 am

Let it tell you of allah Gore: Science is settled. If need be, we build a Plexiglas tunnel around 20 degrees south and north.

August 19, 2017 6:37 am

But the Leugner CFS V2 actually added an Atlantic Nino to its graph. Such a blasphemy. Maybe someone wants an Indonesian Nino or a Nino of the Indian Ocean. Such deniers.

Tom Halla
August 19, 2017 6:39 am

As climate science is settled, why should anyone bother to try to actually understand what is going on?/s

Reply to  Tom Halla
August 19, 2017 6:52 am

You never understood…….. the SETTLED CLIMATE SCIENCE. But, you understand, that the never-understanding is a good thing to bother much money. You must only never point out, that you have never understood the SETTLED SCIENCE.

August 19, 2017 6:48 am

there are ‘things’ lurking at even at the higher altitudes
magenta line – geographic equator
green line – geomagnetic equator
blue bands – ultraviolet light from two plasma bands in the ionosphere that encircle the Earth over the equator.
Since plasma is electrically charged, its motion across the Earth’s magnetic field acts like a generator, creating an electric field. This electric field shapes the plasma above into the two bands. Anything that would change the motion of the E-layer plasma would also change the electric fields they generate, which would then reshape the plasma bands above.
The bright pairs were located over areas with lots of thunderstorm activity. The thunderstorms connection to plasma bands in the ionosphere surprised scientists initially because it was thought that the thunderstorms can not affect the ionosphere directly or vice versa.

Reply to  vukcevic
August 19, 2017 7:09 am

The fact that thunderstorms can influence the ionosphere is, when one understands how thunderstorms usually arise, normal. A warm air package is forced to climb in a cooler environment, breaks the tropopause and releases waves when entering the Stratosphere. Which in turn affect the ionosphere. The same principle of wave propagation in the stratosphere with effect on the ionosphere has now also been found in earthquakes, such as the earthquake in Nepal 2015:

Reply to  vukcevic
August 19, 2017 7:13 am

Considering the fact that gravity follow heat flow in the equation TSI/(4πr³/3)=(4πr³/3)*8g², which is the same as, we are finally closing in on understanding this glowing ball we live on.

Reply to  vukcevic
August 19, 2017 7:42 am

“Since plasma is electrically charged, its motion across the Earth’s magnetic field acts like a generator, creating an electric field. ”
That movement of electric charge will produce a magnetic field not an electric one. The charge will create an electric field even if it is motionless.

Reply to  Greg
August 19, 2017 7:43 am

How much of the Earth’s magnetic field is created by movement of charge in the ionosphere?

Reply to  Greg
August 19, 2017 10:05 am

typo: should be ‘electric current’, also known as equatorial electrojet
Effect is strongest at mid-day about 50-60nT and drops to zero by following midnight.

Reply to  Greg
August 19, 2017 10:10 am

here is link again , I hope it works this timecomment image

Reply to  vukcevic
August 19, 2017 8:07 am

Very interesting, vukcevic. Thanks. There’s lots we still don’t know, isn’t there.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  vukcevic
August 19, 2017 9:58 am

Vuk your discussion of equatorial waves is far superior to what we got in the article. At least I can sort of believe they might be real.

Reply to  vukcevic
August 20, 2017 4:11 am

Vulkcevic, that is a great illustration.

August 19, 2017 6:59 am

Add the fact that TSI/(4πr³/3)=(4πr³/3)*8g² and the probability density of equatorial surface temperature equal a thermal resistance in Nm² as (TSI/(4πr³/3)²)/2πr²=4g²(Nm²)=383W/m². It’s all waves. Earth is a wave in superposition. The atmosphere is a standing wave of excited low density mass. It rises from the force of the heat flow and energy of the wave is conserved by an exact equal force of gravity. The atmosphere is carried by emitted surface heat, it is not a cause of temperature. The GH-effect is the aether-theory of the 21st century.

August 19, 2017 7:21 am

This seems like REAL science and not GORE science. I’m not sure what to “believe” … /sarc

August 19, 2017 7:26 am

And yet most people still happily imagine that the global mean temperature anomaly (or any other climate metric) is primarily a function of man made emissions of CO2.

Reply to  Malcolm
August 19, 2017 7:41 am

LOL.. exactly, climate is an incredible complex nonlinear problem. CO2 believers are trying to use 1 input parameter to explain everything. They just don’t get it.

Reply to  Malcolm
August 19, 2017 9:08 am

Ah no. We know that 93 % of the temperature is a function of altitude and latitude.
Temperature CHANGE??? That’s a different beast. Since 1850 c02 is responsible for more than 50% of the positive forcing.
Not all.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 19, 2017 10:15 am

“Since 1850 c02 is responsible for more than 50% of the positive forcing.”
Prove it.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 19, 2017 10:16 am

What do you mean? Emissive power/temperature is a function of position?
Forcing? What is that? Is it a force? Is it energy? Is it heat?
Is forcing deltaU, Q or W? It has to be one of them.
How can the density of a constant and limited heat flow increase, from increasing the fraction of heat-absorbing molecules in the surroundings of the heat source?
It means less energy per molecule, and that is what would be observed as “radiative imbalance”. Less energy per heat absorber means lower temperature, not higher.
So, how does forcing work?
How can observations of decreasing emission caused by increased fraction of heat absorber in the cold fluid, explain how the emissive power of the surface increase?
If you increase “forcing” you decrease heat density in the atmosphere. The more heat the atmosphere absorbs, the colder it is. The rate of transfer from the surface to air is the rate of absorption. It increases if the temperature of the atmosphere decrease. Increased absorption=lower temperature.
How can the dropping temperature caused by an increased atmospheric absorption of heat, cause an increased power in heat flow from its heat source?

Grant Hillemeyer
Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 19, 2017 10:29 am

Ah, yes. Ask anyone lay person and they’ll say that CO2 is the main driver of warming since 1850, which I think was Malcolm’s point. I cry BS that anyone knows what the CO2 forcing is at any point in time. Witness the wide range of opinions from experts.
If you are a casual observer of news or culture, you’d have no choice but to believe CO2 is the main driver of ‘climate change’, whatever the hell people think that is.
The grand energy hog, hypocrite, money grubbing, animal eating, jet flying, CO2 producing, fact making upping Al Gore would have all of us think that 1850 was the magical perfect temperature of our planet, and any deviation from it is man made.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 19, 2017 11:56 am

“Since 1850 c02 is responsible for more than 50% of the positive forcing.”
Mosh = gullible anti-science car salesman !!

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 19, 2017 12:03 pm

Yes, CO2 as a climate knob is an unfounded and illogical assumption. Even with the CO2 forcing assumptions, none of the climate models give realistic predictions. None.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 19, 2017 2:33 pm

“Since 1850 c02 is responsible for more than 50% of the positive forcing.”

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Steven Mosher
August 20, 2017 3:28 am

“Steven Mosher August 19, 2017 at 9:08 am
Since 1850 c02 is responsible for more than 50% of the positive forcing.”
What is positive “forcing”? Please prove CO2 FORCES temperature change outside a computer model. Gas laws disproves “forcing”. The laws of thermodynamics disproves “forcing”. Where is your proof CO2 is responsible for “forcing”?

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 19, 2017 8:10 am

‘Diabatic heating’ appears to me a pleonasm, stating the same thing twice.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 19, 2017 2:50 pm

No…it is to differentiate from ‘adiabatic heating’ (temperature change *only* from vertical motion)

August 19, 2017 8:18 am

What about the ocean temp ? or clouds

Gary Pearse
August 19, 2017 9:51 am

“… the evolution of the waves from genesis to breaking, and their interactions with the background flow,”
Now you really got me. So there is a background flow at the equator that ISN’T part of the ‘zoo’. Mysterious! Why on earth is science today borrowing from social science in practicing obscurantism. I know why it’s practiced in long broken and corrupted social sciences. They hide meaning because there is only ideological content and they want to make it sciency as the name of their discipline (false) advertises.
Come to think of it, I had the inspiration that the social sciences are the ‘model’ for climate science. They’ve been blaming all the ills in society on capitalism, democracy and western civilization (crazily, a construct of шнiте ргоgгеssivеs blaming шнiтеу).
I’m hoping that it’s just physics, although Einstein’s thought experiments and explanations of relativity were understandable to the interested civilian. I also think that after a couple of centuries of ping pong between waves and corpuscluar opponents, the breaking of this hard nut was glommed onto wholesale for all the outstanding hard nuts in science at the time and on the present day (and maybe social pretend science?). It made physics easy, but obscure, which served to derail the science ever since. Now everything is possible – the universe made up of strings humming away (er.. like waves) that are each ~1.6×10^-34 meters in length, ideas that we don’t exist (sounds like a familiar, self-loathing human thing, only in obscurantese, for which even a dictionary doesn’t exist – a nice symmetrical idea).
I’m worried that merely cutting the moorings of our universities and institutions (along with their libraries and ‘data’ bases) and building new replacements won’t be enough to fix the problem. It may be that all this nonesense is the gluons now holding our existence together.

Bill Parsons
August 19, 2017 12:27 pm

You mean Brian Green (“Welcome to the 11th Dimension”) wasn’t just “Mr. Cool”?

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Bill Parsons
August 19, 2017 12:29 pm

Title was pretty catchy, though… “The Elegant Universe”.

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