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Regular version of the site

Article

Lunar influence on atmospheric angular momentum

Journal of Geophysical Research. 2014. Vol. 119. No. 21. P. 11920-11931.
Bizouard C., Zotov L., Sidorenkov N.

This study investigates the relationship between the equatorial atmospheric angular momentum oscillation in the nonrotating frame and the quasi-diurnal lunar tidal potential. Between 2 and 30 days, the corresponding equatorial component, called Celestial Atmospheric Angular Momentum (CEAM), is mostly constituted of prograde circular motions, especially of a harmonic at 13.66 days, a sidelobe at 13.63 days, and of a weekly broadband variation. A simple equilibrium tide model explains the 13.66 day pressure term as a result of the O1 lunar tide. The powerful episodic fluctuations between 5 and 8 days possibly reflect an atmospheric normal mode excited by the tidal waves Q1 (6.86 days) and σ1 (7.095 days). The lunar tidal influence on the spectral band from 2 to 30 days is confirmed by two specific features, not occurring for seasonal band dominated by the solar thermal effect. First, Northern and Southern Hemispheres contribute equally and synchronously to the CEAM wind term. Second, the pressure and wind terms are proportional, which follows from angular momentum budget considerations where the topographic and friction torques on the solid Earth are much smaller than the one resulting from the equatorial bulge. Such a configuration is expected for the case of tidally induced circulation, where the surface pressure variation is tesseral and cannot contribute to the topographic torque, and tidal winds blow only at high altitudes. The likely effects of the lunar-driven atmospheric circulation on Earth's nutation are estimated and discussed in light of the present-day capabilities of space geodetic techniques.