Predictability of Rotating Stratified Turbulence

K. Ngan McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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P. Bartello McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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D. N. Straub McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Abstract

Although predictability represents one of the fundamental problems in atmospheric science, gaps in our knowledge remain. Theoretical understanding of the inverse error cascade is limited mostly to homogeneous, isotropic turbulence, whereas numerical simulations have focused on highly complex numerical weather prediction models. These results cannot be easily reconciled.

This paper describes selected aspects of the predictability behavior of rotating stratified turbulence. The objective is to determine how the predictability varies with scale when the dynamics are more realistic than the idealized models that underlie the classical picture of predictability and yet are free of the parameterizations that complicate interpretation of NWP models. Using a numerical model of the nonhydrostatic Boussinesq equations, it is shown that the predictability decay, as diagnosed by the relative error, is slower for subsynoptic flow. The dependence on the deformation radius, differences between balanced and unbalanced modes, and implications for NWP models are discussed.

* Current affiliation: Met Office, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

Corresponding author address: K. Ngan, Met Office, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom. Email: keith.ngan@metoffice.gov.uk

Abstract

Although predictability represents one of the fundamental problems in atmospheric science, gaps in our knowledge remain. Theoretical understanding of the inverse error cascade is limited mostly to homogeneous, isotropic turbulence, whereas numerical simulations have focused on highly complex numerical weather prediction models. These results cannot be easily reconciled.

This paper describes selected aspects of the predictability behavior of rotating stratified turbulence. The objective is to determine how the predictability varies with scale when the dynamics are more realistic than the idealized models that underlie the classical picture of predictability and yet are free of the parameterizations that complicate interpretation of NWP models. Using a numerical model of the nonhydrostatic Boussinesq equations, it is shown that the predictability decay, as diagnosed by the relative error, is slower for subsynoptic flow. The dependence on the deformation radius, differences between balanced and unbalanced modes, and implications for NWP models are discussed.

* Current affiliation: Met Office, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

Corresponding author address: K. Ngan, Met Office, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom. Email: keith.ngan@metoffice.gov.uk

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