Scale Dependence of the 200–mb Divergence Inferred from EOLE Data

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  • 1 Laboratories de Météorologie Dynamique, CNRS, Paris, France
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Abstract

The EOLE experiment with 480 constant-volume balloons distributed over the Southern Hemisphere approximately at the 200-mb level, has provided a unique, highly accurate set of tracer trajectories in the general westerly circulation. The trajectories of neighboring balloons are analyzed to estimate the horizontal divergence from the Lagrangian derivative of the area of one cluster. The variance of the divergence estimates results from two almost comparable effects: the true divergence of the horizontal flow and eddy diffusion due to small-scale, two-dimensional turbulence. Taking this into account, the rms divergence is found to be of the order of 10−5 sec−1 and decreases logarithmically with cluster size. This scale dependence is shown to be consistent with the quasi-geostrophic turbulence model of the general circulation in mid-latitudes.

Abstract

The EOLE experiment with 480 constant-volume balloons distributed over the Southern Hemisphere approximately at the 200-mb level, has provided a unique, highly accurate set of tracer trajectories in the general westerly circulation. The trajectories of neighboring balloons are analyzed to estimate the horizontal divergence from the Lagrangian derivative of the area of one cluster. The variance of the divergence estimates results from two almost comparable effects: the true divergence of the horizontal flow and eddy diffusion due to small-scale, two-dimensional turbulence. Taking this into account, the rms divergence is found to be of the order of 10−5 sec−1 and decreases logarithmically with cluster size. This scale dependence is shown to be consistent with the quasi-geostrophic turbulence model of the general circulation in mid-latitudes.

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