Ting, M., and P. D. Sardeshmukh, 1993: Factors determining the extratropical response to equatorial diabatic heating anomalies. J. Atmos. Sci., 50, 907-918.


The steady linear response of a spherical baroclinic atmosphere to an equatorial diabatic heat source having a simple horizontal and vertical structure is examined. This source is imposed upon representative zonally symmetric as well as zonally varying flows during the boreal winter. Two climatologies are considered. One is a 6-year average of global observations analyzed at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The other is a 30-year average, taken from a general circulation model (GCM) run at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton.

The extratropical response is found to be very sensitive to the basic state around which the governing primitive equations are linearized, and in the case of the ECMWF climatology, to the longitudinal position of the source with respect to the climatological waves. There is also some sensitivity to the vertical level of maximum heating, although again this is more evident in the case of the ECMWF basic state.

These results are discussed in terms of simple theoretical ideas, and implications are drawn for the short-range climate prediction problem. The evidence presented here suggests that subtle differences in the ambient flow can give rise to very different low-frequency normal modes, and thence to drastically different responses to tropical perturbations imposed upon that flow.