Patterns of atmospheric excitation functions of polar motion from high‐resolution regional sectors

Author: J. Nastula, David Salstein and B. Kolaczek
August 6, 2009
Journal Article
Journal of Geophysical Research

Nastula, J., D. Salstein, and B. Kolaczek (2009), Patterns of atmospheric excitation functions of polar motion from high‐resolution regional sectors, J. Geophys. Res., 114, B04407, doi:10.1029/2008JB005605.

In this paper regional values of equatorial components of the atmospheric excitation function of polar motion, which are proportional to the equatorial components of angular momentum (AAM), were computed at high spatial resolution in 3312 equal‐area sectors from the surface pressure fields of the NCEP‐NCAR reanalyses in order to improve our knowledge of patterns of atmospheric excitation functions of polar motion. The inverted barometer (IB) model of oceanic isostatic adjustment is applied to readjust the effective atmospheric pressure fields. To identify the influence of different geographic regions of the atmosphere on the excitation of polar motion, correlations and covariances between these regional excitations values and either the global geodetic excitation function, determined from the geodetic observational data, or the atmospheric excitation functions, equivalent to the sum of such excitations in all regions, were computed in different spectral bands, from subseasonal to interannual period ones. The covariances show the regional contribution to the global excitation, whereas the correlations show an overall similar relationship. Furthermore, these analyses determine regional sources of polar motion excitation by surface pressure variations in the atmosphere in different spectral bands. The broad regions over Eurasia and North America were identified as principal atmospheric excitation sources for polar motion. The results revealed that atmospheric excitation over land regions in the northern middle latitudes, especially over Asia, is exceptionally strong, a point generally noted in previous studies, though without identifying detailed features. Over the Himalayan Mountains the covariance of local with global atmospheric excitation in the annual band forms a small minimum surrounded by larger values in a ring‐like formation. For other terms, maxima of atmospheric excitation have a longitudinal formation mostly across the Eurasian continent. The atmospheric excitation of polar motion over the ocean is weak when subject to the IB correction, but it contains nevertheless a clear annual signal and is highly correlated with the annual oscillation of the global geodetic excitation function of polar motion.