Journal of Meteorological Research

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 950–973 | Cite as

Multiple Equilibria in a Land–Atmosphere Coupled System

  • Dongdong Li
  • Yongli He
  • Jianping HuangEmail author
  • Lu Bi
  • Lei Ding
Regular Article


Many low-order modeling studies indicate that there may be multiple equilibria in the atmosphere induced by thermal and topographic forcings. However, most work uses uncoupled atmospheric model and just focuses on the multiple equilibria with distinct wave amplitude, i.e., the high- and low-index equilibria. Here, a low-order coupled land–atmosphere model is used to study the multiple equilibria with both distinct wave phase and wave amplitude. The model combines a two-layer quasi-geostrophic channel model and an energy balance model. Highly truncated spectral expansions are used and the results show that there may be two stable equilibria with distinct wave phase relative to the topography: one (the other) has a lower layer streamfunction that is nearly in (out of) phase with the topography, i.e., the lower layer ridges (troughs) are over the mountains, called ridge-type (trough-type) equilibria. The wave phase of equilibrium state depends on the direction of lower layer zonal wind and horizontal scale of the topography. The multiple wave phase equilibria associated with ridge- and trough-types originate from the orographic instability of the Hadley circulation, which is a pitch-fork bifurcation. Compared with the uncoupled model, the land–atmosphere coupled system produces more stable atmospheric flow and more ridge-type equilibrium states, particularly, these effects are primarily attributed to the longwave radiation fluxes. The upper layer streamfunctions of both ridge- and trough-type equilibria are also characterized by either a high- or low-index flow pattern. However, the multiple wave phase equilibria associated with ridge- and trough-types are more prominent than multiple wave amplitude equilibria associated with high- and low-index types in this study.

Key words

multiple equilibria land–atmosphere coupling wave phase longwave radiation stability 


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Multiple Equilibria in a Land-Atmosphere Coupled System


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Meteorological Society and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dongdong Li
    • 1
  • Yongli He
    • 1
  • Jianping Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lu Bi
    • 1
  • Lei Ding
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina

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