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Scale Sensitivity of the Gill Circulation. Part II: Off-Equatorial Case

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  • 1 aDepartment of Physics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • | 2 bCentre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Université de Toulouse, Météo France, CNRS, Toulouse, France
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Abstract

We investigate the steady dynamical response of the atmosphere on the equatorial β plane to a steady, localized, midtropospheric heating source. Following Part I, which investigates the case of an equatorial diabatic heating, we explore the sensitivity of the Gill circulation to the latitudinal location of the heating, together with the sensitivity to its horizontal scale. Again, we focus on characteristics of the response that would be particularly important if the circulation interacted with the hydrologic and energy cycles: overturning circulation and low-level wind. In the off-equatorial case, the intensity of the overturning circulation has the same limit as in the equatorial case for small horizontal extent of the diabatic heating, which is also the limit in the f-plane case. The decrease in this intensity with increasing horizontal scale of the diabatic heating is slightly faster in the off-equatorial case than in the equatorial case, which is due to the increase of rotational winds at the expense of divergent winds. The low-level westerly jet is more intense than in the equatorial case, with larger maximum wind and eastward mass transport that tend to infinity for small horizontal extent of the diabatic heating. In terms of spatial characteristics, this jet has a similar latitudinal extent as in the equatorial case but, unlike in the equatorial case, it extends farther equatorward than poleward of the diabatic-heating center. It also extends farther eastward than in the equatorial case.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Publisher's Note: This article was revised on 24 March 2022 to fix Figs. 3, 5, 6, and 7, whose original formatting was not consistent with the rest of the figures when originally published.

Corresponding author: Gilles Bellon, gilles.bellon@auckland.ac.nz

Abstract

We investigate the steady dynamical response of the atmosphere on the equatorial β plane to a steady, localized, midtropospheric heating source. Following Part I, which investigates the case of an equatorial diabatic heating, we explore the sensitivity of the Gill circulation to the latitudinal location of the heating, together with the sensitivity to its horizontal scale. Again, we focus on characteristics of the response that would be particularly important if the circulation interacted with the hydrologic and energy cycles: overturning circulation and low-level wind. In the off-equatorial case, the intensity of the overturning circulation has the same limit as in the equatorial case for small horizontal extent of the diabatic heating, which is also the limit in the f-plane case. The decrease in this intensity with increasing horizontal scale of the diabatic heating is slightly faster in the off-equatorial case than in the equatorial case, which is due to the increase of rotational winds at the expense of divergent winds. The low-level westerly jet is more intense than in the equatorial case, with larger maximum wind and eastward mass transport that tend to infinity for small horizontal extent of the diabatic heating. In terms of spatial characteristics, this jet has a similar latitudinal extent as in the equatorial case but, unlike in the equatorial case, it extends farther equatorward than poleward of the diabatic-heating center. It also extends farther eastward than in the equatorial case.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Publisher's Note: This article was revised on 24 March 2022 to fix Figs. 3, 5, 6, and 7, whose original formatting was not consistent with the rest of the figures when originally published.

Corresponding author: Gilles Bellon, gilles.bellon@auckland.ac.nz
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