On the Contribution of Released Latent Heat to Changes in Available Potential Energy

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  • 1 Meteorological Service of Canada, Toronto
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Abstract

Using quasi-geostrophic theory, equations are derived separating from other factors the contribution of release of latent heat to changes in the available potential energy. A synoptic case study of a major winter cyclone and an examination of the equation for the amplification of the vertical velocity associated with release of latent heat both suggest the same conclusion: in the lower and middle troposphere, the positive contribution of heating is normally significantly larger than the negative effect arising from the enhanced vertical motion. Thus release of latent heat should lessen the tendency for vertical circulations to destroy existing temperature contrasts.

Abstract

Using quasi-geostrophic theory, equations are derived separating from other factors the contribution of release of latent heat to changes in the available potential energy. A synoptic case study of a major winter cyclone and an examination of the equation for the amplification of the vertical velocity associated with release of latent heat both suggest the same conclusion: in the lower and middle troposphere, the positive contribution of heating is normally significantly larger than the negative effect arising from the enhanced vertical motion. Thus release of latent heat should lessen the tendency for vertical circulations to destroy existing temperature contrasts.

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