DOI: 10.1029/2023gl106166 ISSN: 0094-8276

A New Atmospheric Background State to Diagnose Local Waveguidability

Christopher Polster, Volkmar Wirth
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Geophysics


A new procedure to obtain a longitudinally varying and slowly evolving atmospheric background state for the analysis of Rossby waveguides is described and discussed. The procedure is a rolling zonalization scheme, redistributing Ertel potential vorticity in a moving window to separate waves from the background. Waveguides are subsequently diagnosed from the gradient of the logarithm of potential vorticity. The effectiveness of the wave‐background separation, even in large‐amplitude conditions, is illustrated with reanalysis data. Established climatological‐mean waveguide structures are recovered from the rolling‐zonalized state in the limit of long‐term aggregation. Two contrasting episodes of Rossby wave packet propagation demonstrate how the evolution of waveguides derived from rolling zonalization can correspond to the development of superposed wave packets. The ability of the procedure to work with snapshots of the atmosphere provides new opportunities for waveguide research.

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