Whitaker, J. S., and A. Barcilon, 1995: Low-frequency variability and wavenumber selection in models with zonally symmetric forcing. J. Atmos. Sci., 52, 491-503.


The authors consider a two-layer quasigeostrophic model with linear surface drag and forcing that relaxes to a zonal baroclinically unstable equilibrium state consisting of a meridionally confined temperature gradient. It is observed that the most energetic wave in the time-mean climate has near zero frequency and is not driven by upscale nonlinear energy transfers. This wave has a zonal scale near the long-wave cutoff of the equilibrium state, and its energy balance is mainly between baroclinic generation and dissipation. This maintenance mechanism is different from that suggested by, β-plane, two-dimensional, and quasigeostrophic turbulence arguments and may be relevant to the dynamics of zonally asymmetric low-frequency variability in the atmosphere, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere.