PV Frontogenesis and Upper-Tropospheric Fronts

H. C. Davies Institute for Atmospheric Science, Zurich, Switzerland

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A. M. Rossa Swiss Meteorological Institute, Zurich, Switzerland

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Abstract

Upper-tropospheric fronts and frontogenesis are viewed from a potental vorticity (PV) perspective. The rudiments of this approach are to regard such a front as a zone of strong PV gradient on isentropic surfaces, and to treat the accompanying frontogenesis as the process whereby this gradient is enhanced on tropopause-transcending isentropic surfaces. A case study suggests that this concept of PV frontogenesis provides a concise dynamically based definition of upper-level frontal zones, and a compact and transparent approach for diagnosing the frontogenesis. The concept provides fresh insight on the dynamics of the upper-level fronts, and has the potential to shed light on related phenomena and processes.

Corresponding author’s address: H. C. Davies, Institute for Atmospheric Science, ETH Hönggerberg, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland.

Email: davies@atmos.umnw.ethz.ch

Abstract

Upper-tropospheric fronts and frontogenesis are viewed from a potental vorticity (PV) perspective. The rudiments of this approach are to regard such a front as a zone of strong PV gradient on isentropic surfaces, and to treat the accompanying frontogenesis as the process whereby this gradient is enhanced on tropopause-transcending isentropic surfaces. A case study suggests that this concept of PV frontogenesis provides a concise dynamically based definition of upper-level frontal zones, and a compact and transparent approach for diagnosing the frontogenesis. The concept provides fresh insight on the dynamics of the upper-level fronts, and has the potential to shed light on related phenomena and processes.

Corresponding author’s address: H. C. Davies, Institute for Atmospheric Science, ETH Hönggerberg, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland.

Email: davies@atmos.umnw.ethz.ch

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