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  • Author or Editor: W. H. Schubert x
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G. L. Browning, H-O. Kreiss, and W. H. Schubert

Abstract

A mathematical theory was recently developed on the relationship between the dominant and gravity wave components of the slowly varying in time solutions (solutions varying on the advective timescale) corresponding to midlatitude mesoscale motions forced by cooling and heating. Here it will be shown that slowly varying in time equatorial motions of any length scale satisfy the same balance between the vertical velocity and heating as in the midlatitude mesoscale case. Thus any equatorial gravity waves that are generated will have the same time- and depth scales and the same size of pressure perturbations as the corresponding dominant component, a horizontal length scale an order of magnitude larger than that of the heat source, and an order of magnitude smaller velocity than the corresponding dominant component. In particular, in the large-scale equatorial case, when the heating has a timescale O(1 day), horizontally propagating gravity waves with a timescale O(1 day) and a length scale O(10 000 km) can be generated. But in the large-scale equatorial case when the heating has a timescale O(10 days), balanced pressure oscillations with a timescale O(10 days) are generated. It is also shown that if a solution of the diabatic system describing equatorial flows (and hence equatorial observational data in the presence of heating) is written in terms of a series of the modes of the linear adiabatic system for those flows, then a major portion of the dominant solution is projected onto gravity wave modes, and this result can explain the confusion over the relative importance of equatorial gravity waves.

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A. S. Frisch, D. H. Lenschow, C. W. Fairall, W. H. Schubert, and J. S. Gibson

Abstract

A cloud-sensing Doppler radar is used with a vertically pointing antenna to measure the vertical air motion in clouds during the Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment. The droplet fall velocity contamination was made negligible by using only measurements during the time the reflectivity was below − 17 dBZ. During one day of measurements, the daytime character of the vertical velocity variance is different than that of the nighttime case. In the upper part of the cloud, the variance had a distinct maximum for both day and night; however, the nighttime maximum was about twice as large as the daytime case. Lower down in the cloud, there was a second maximum, with the daytime variance larger than the nighttime case. The skewness of the vertical velocity was negative near cloud top in both the day and night cases, changing to positive skewness in the lower part of the cloud. This behavior near cloud top indicates that the upper part of the cloud is behaving like an upside-down convective boundary layer, with the downdrafts smaller in area and more intense than the updrafts. In the lower part of the cloud, the behavior of the motion is more like a conventional convective boundary layer, with the updrafts smaller and more intense than the downdrafts. The upside-down convective forcing in the upper part of the cloud is due to radiative cooling, with the daytime forcing less because of shortwave warming.

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Andrea Schneidereit, Silke Schubert, Pavel Vargin, Frank Lunkeit, Xiuhua Zhu, Dieter H. W. Peters, and Klaus Fraedrich

Abstract

Several studies show that the anomalous long-lasting Russian heat wave during the summer of 2010, linked to a long-persistent blocking high, appears mainly as a result of natural atmospheric variability. This study analyzes the large-scale flow structure based on the ECMWF Re-Analysis Interim (ERA-Interim) data (1989–2010). The anomalous long-lasting blocking high over western Russia including the heat wave occurs as an overlay of a set of anticyclonic contributions on different time scales. (i) A regime change in ENSO toward La Niña modulates the quasi-stationary wave structure in the boreal summer hemisphere supporting the eastern European blocking. The polar Arctic dipole mode is enhanced and shows a projection on the mean blocking high. (ii) Together with the quasi-stationary wave anomaly, the transient eddies maintain the long-lasting blocking. (iii) Three different pathways of wave action are identified on the intermediate time scale (~10–60 days). One pathway commences over the eastern North Pacific and includes the polar Arctic region; another one runs more southward and crossing the North Atlantic, continues to eastern Europe; a third pathway southeast of the blocking high describes the downstream development over South Asia.

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Brian D. McNoldy, Anning Cheng, Zachary A. Eitzen, Richard W. Moore, John Persing, Kevin Schaefer, and Wayne H. Schubert

Rotating tables have been in use for many years because of their ability to demonstrate fluid dynamical phenomena, shedding insight on the sometimes complicated or esoteric mathematics used to describe such processes. A small team of students at the Colorado State University (CSU) Department of Atmospheric Science constructed a rotating table, or “spin tank,” assembly that is simple and affordable, yet instructive.

The apparatus is designed to be easy to maintain and operate. The number of moving parts is kept at a minimum, and the electrical components chosen are of high quality. With the aid of a brief instruction manual or tutorial, students and faculty can operate the rotating table and easily perform many demonstrations, with the freedom to vary fluid depth, rotation rate, and acceleration. The entire design and construction process was conducted on a limited budget of $3,000.

A spin tank such as this has practical applications for the qualitative study of fluid dynamics. Fundamental concepts in rotating flow dynamics can be demonstrated to supplement the more rigorous mathematical treatment typically given in oceanography or atmospheric physics graduate-level courses. Topics that have been explored thus far are Ekman pumping, Taylor columns, and barotropic instability, but could be broadened to include subjects such as Rossby waves, baroclinic instability, vortex merger, and thermal convection.

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D. S. Gutzler, H. - K. Kim, R. W. Higgins, H. - M. H. Juang, M. Kanamitsu, K. Mitchell, K. Mo, P. Pegion, E. Ritchie, J. - K. Schemm, S. Schubert, Y. Song, and R. Yang
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