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The Sensitivity of the Isentropic Slope in a Primitive Equation Dry Model

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  • 1 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
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Abstract

This paper discusses the sensitivity of the isentropic slope in a primitive equation dry model forced with Newtonian cooling when the heating is varied. This is done in two different ways, changing either the radiative equilibrium baroclinicity or the diabatic time scale for the zonal-mean flow. When the radiative equilibrium baroclinicity is changed, the isentropic slope remains insensitive against changes in the forcing, in agreement with previous results. However, the isentropic slope steepens when the diabatic heating rate is accelerated for the zonal-mean flow. Changes in the ratio between the interior and the boundary diffusivities as the diabatic heating rate is varied appear to be responsible for the violation of the constant criticality constraint in this model. Theoretical arguments are used to relate the sensitivity of the isentropic slope to that of the isentropic mass flux, which also remains constant when the radiative-equilibrium baroclinicity is changed. The sensitivity of the isentropic mass flux on the heating depends on how the gross stability changes. Bulk stabilities calculated from isobaric averages and gross stabilities estimated from isentropic diagnostics are not necessarily equivalent because a significant part of the return flow occurs at potential temperatures colder than the mean surface temperature.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Pablo Zurita-Gotor, Departamento de Geofísica y Meteorología, Facultad de Ciencias Físicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040, Madrid, Spain. Email: pzurita@alum.mit.edu

Abstract

This paper discusses the sensitivity of the isentropic slope in a primitive equation dry model forced with Newtonian cooling when the heating is varied. This is done in two different ways, changing either the radiative equilibrium baroclinicity or the diabatic time scale for the zonal-mean flow. When the radiative equilibrium baroclinicity is changed, the isentropic slope remains insensitive against changes in the forcing, in agreement with previous results. However, the isentropic slope steepens when the diabatic heating rate is accelerated for the zonal-mean flow. Changes in the ratio between the interior and the boundary diffusivities as the diabatic heating rate is varied appear to be responsible for the violation of the constant criticality constraint in this model. Theoretical arguments are used to relate the sensitivity of the isentropic slope to that of the isentropic mass flux, which also remains constant when the radiative-equilibrium baroclinicity is changed. The sensitivity of the isentropic mass flux on the heating depends on how the gross stability changes. Bulk stabilities calculated from isobaric averages and gross stabilities estimated from isentropic diagnostics are not necessarily equivalent because a significant part of the return flow occurs at potential temperatures colder than the mean surface temperature.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Pablo Zurita-Gotor, Departamento de Geofísica y Meteorología, Facultad de Ciencias Físicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040, Madrid, Spain. Email: pzurita@alum.mit.edu

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