Vertically Integrated Budgets of Mass and Energy for the Globe

G. J. Boer Canadian Climate Centre, Downsview, Ontario, Canada M3H 5T4

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Neil E. Sargent Canadian Climate Centre, Downsview, Ontario, Canada M3H 5T4

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Abstract

Large-scale vertically integrated fluxes of mass and energy for the global atmosphere are calculated and displayed from FGGE III-b data. Until recently the global nature of these basic climatological terms could not be obtained because of lack of data, especially in the Southern Hemisphere.

The integrated mass and energy flux vectors are decomposed into mean and transient components and into rotational and divergent parts. The vertically integrated mass and energy fluxes are intimately connected and the rotational component of the energy flux vector is controlled by the rotational component of the mass flux vector.

The divergent part of the net energy flux vector is of particular interest because it connects sources and sinks of energy for the atmosphere. The pattern of these fluxes delineates energy source regions for the atmosphere that are characterized by warm surface temperatures and copious precipitation and energy sink regions that occur over the cold winter continents and cold oceanic regions. The divergent component of the mean energy flux vector links these source and sink regions. At high latitudes the transient component also becomes important.

Internal and potential energy balances are investigated separately and regions of conversion between these forms of energy am delineated. The resulting picture includes the conversion of internal energy to potential energy via rising motions in energy source regions; the net export of energy from these regions associated with the flux of potential energy in the upper troposphere which outweighs the import of internal energy in the lower troposphere; and the conversion of this exported energy to internal energy via descending motions in energy sink regions where the internal energy is, in turn, lost to space by radiation.

Abstract

Large-scale vertically integrated fluxes of mass and energy for the global atmosphere are calculated and displayed from FGGE III-b data. Until recently the global nature of these basic climatological terms could not be obtained because of lack of data, especially in the Southern Hemisphere.

The integrated mass and energy flux vectors are decomposed into mean and transient components and into rotational and divergent parts. The vertically integrated mass and energy fluxes are intimately connected and the rotational component of the energy flux vector is controlled by the rotational component of the mass flux vector.

The divergent part of the net energy flux vector is of particular interest because it connects sources and sinks of energy for the atmosphere. The pattern of these fluxes delineates energy source regions for the atmosphere that are characterized by warm surface temperatures and copious precipitation and energy sink regions that occur over the cold winter continents and cold oceanic regions. The divergent component of the mean energy flux vector links these source and sink regions. At high latitudes the transient component also becomes important.

Internal and potential energy balances are investigated separately and regions of conversion between these forms of energy am delineated. The resulting picture includes the conversion of internal energy to potential energy via rising motions in energy source regions; the net export of energy from these regions associated with the flux of potential energy in the upper troposphere which outweighs the import of internal energy in the lower troposphere; and the conversion of this exported energy to internal energy via descending motions in energy sink regions where the internal energy is, in turn, lost to space by radiation.

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