Satellite observations of SSTs have revealed the existence of unstable waves in the equatorial eastern Pacific and Atlantic oceans. These waves have a 20-40-day periodicity with westward phase speeds of 0.4-0.6 m s-1 and wavelengths of 1000-2000 km during boreal summer and fall. They are generally called tropical instability waves (TIWs). This study investigates TIWs simulated by a high-resolution coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (AOGCM). The horizontal resolution of the model is 120 km in the atmosphere, and 30 km longitude by 20 km latitude in the ocean. Model simulations show good agreement with the observed main features associated with TIWs. The results of energetics analysis reveal that barotropic energy conversion is responsible for providing the main energy source for TIWs by extracting energy from the meridional shear of the climatological-mean equatorial currents in the mixed layer. This deeper and northward-extended wave activity appears to gain its energy through baroclinic conversion via buoyancy work, which further contributes to the asymmetric distribution of TIWs. It is estimated that the strong cooling effect induced by equatorial upwelling is partially (～30%-40%) offset by the equatorward heat flux due to TIWs in the eastern tropical Pacific during the seasons when TIWs are active. The atmospheric mixed layer just above the sea surface responds to the waves with enhanced or reduced vertical mixing. Furthermore, the changes in turbulent mixing feed back to sea surface evaporation, favoring the westward propagation of TIWs. The atmosphere to the south of the Equator also responds to TIWs in a similar way, although TIWs are much weaker south of the Equator.