An updated analysis of northern hemisphere submonthly retrograde waves

Girish Nigamanth Raghunathan, Huei Ping Huang

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1 Scopus citations


This study performs an updated analysis of Northern Hemisphere retrograde disturbances that were first identified by classical observational studies as one of the dominating coherent structures in the higher latitudes on the submonthly time scale. Analyzing 8-30-day bandpass-filtered data based on reanalysis, a set of criteria on the phase and amplitude of zonal wave-1 Fourier coefficients of geopotential height anomalies at 250 mb (1 mb = 1 hPa) and 60°N are used to identify strong retrograde-wave events in the spirit of Madden and Speth. The new catalog of retrograde-wave events from 1979 to 2017 is used to extract basic statistics and structures of retrograde waves across all major events. The results broadly agree with those reported in the classical observational studies, reaffirming the robustness of the phenomenon. The new catalog can be used to aid further studies on the mechanisms and predictability of retrograde waves. As an example, an analysis of isentropic potential vorticity over the Pacific sector for selected retrograde-wave events reveals the common occurrence of an extrusion of low-PV air into the higher latitudes, followed by a westward shift of the low-PV patch and vortex shedding. Future directions of research surrounding the retrograde-wave phenomenon are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3941-3954
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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