Phase speed spectra of transient eddy fluxes and critical layer absorption

W. J. Randel, I. M. Held

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus citations


Tropospheric zonal mean eddy fluxes of heat and momentum, and the divergence of the Eliassen-Palm flux, are decomposed into contributions from different zonal phase speeds. Eastward moving medium-scale waves (zonal waves 4-7) dominate the spectra of lower tropospheric heat fluxes in both hemispheres and all seasons. Upper tropospheric wave flux spectra are similar to the low level spectra in midlatitudes, but shift to slower zonal phase speeds as low latitudes are approached. The cause of this shift is the selective absorption of faster moving components in midlatitudes as the waves propagate meridionally. Upper tropospheric eddies break and decelerate the zonal mean flow approximately 10°-20° in latitude away from their critical line (where phase speed equals zonal wind speed). -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-697
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Phase speed spectra of transient eddy fluxes and critical layer absorption'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this