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  1. Abstract

    Tropical gravity waves that are generated by convection are generally too small in scale and too high in frequency to be resolved in global climate models, yet their drag forces drive the important global‐scale quasi‐biennial oscillation (QBO) in the lower stratosphere, and models rely on parameterizations of gravity wave drag to simulate the QBO. We compare detailed properties of tropical parameterized gravity waves in the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model version 6 (WACCM6) with gravity waves observed by long‐duration superpressure balloons and also compare properties of parameterized convective latent heating with satellite data. Similarities and differences suggest that the WACCM6 parameterizations are excellent tools for representing tropical gravity waves, but the results also suggest detailed changes to the gravity wave parameterization tuning parameter assumptions that would bring the parameterized waves into much better agreement with observations. While WACCM6 currently includes only nonstationary gravity waves from convection, adding gravity waves generated by the steady component of the heating that are stationary relative to moving convective rain cells is likely to improve the simulation of the QBO in the model. The suggested changes have the potential to alleviate common biases in simulated QBO circulations in models.

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