Subtropical Jet Behavior in Idealized Models

What are the necessary processes to decouple the subtropical jet from the Hadley Cell?

A useful tool to diagnose the processes that control certain aspects of the atmosphere is an idealized atmospheric model. Although there exists a heirarchy of complexity even for idealized models, the intention is to simplify the atmosphere enough to isolate specific processes, sometimes at the expense of realistic output. Ultimately we aim to use idealized models to constrain the dynamics of the subtropical jet and it’s relationship to the Hadley Cell. In order to do so, we must identify the necessary model processes to decouple the subtropical jet from the Hadley Cell, and thus replicate that which is shown in CMIP5 analysis. Preliminary results suggest that an accurate basic state, particularly accuracy of meridional temperature gradients and upper level zonal winds in the tropics, is a requisite for this disconnect.

Molly Erin Menzel
Molly Erin Menzel
Climate Scientist

Graduate student at Johns Hopkins University studying atmospheric dynamics.