Transient Growth of Damped Baroclinic Waves

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  • 1 Division of Applied Sciences, Center for Earth and Planetary Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
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Abstract

A solution of the linear initial value problem for the model of Eady with the inclusion of Ekman damping is presented. This model exhibits large transient growth of perturbations for synoptic cyclone Spatial scales and a realistic value of the vertical turbulent viscosity coefficient despite the fact that all normal modes are exponentially decaying. Similar results are found for the model of Charney, implying that exponential instability cannot, in general, serve to explain the occurrence of cyclone scale disturbances in midlatitudes. Rather these are seen to arise additionally and perhaps predominantly from the release of mean flow potential energy by favorably configured initial perturbations. The Petterssen criterion for midlatitude cyclogenesis results naturally from this development as does its extension to the formation of subtropical monsoon depressions. Implications for the maintenance of midlatitude temperature gradients are discussed.

Abstract

A solution of the linear initial value problem for the model of Eady with the inclusion of Ekman damping is presented. This model exhibits large transient growth of perturbations for synoptic cyclone Spatial scales and a realistic value of the vertical turbulent viscosity coefficient despite the fact that all normal modes are exponentially decaying. Similar results are found for the model of Charney, implying that exponential instability cannot, in general, serve to explain the occurrence of cyclone scale disturbances in midlatitudes. Rather these are seen to arise additionally and perhaps predominantly from the release of mean flow potential energy by favorably configured initial perturbations. The Petterssen criterion for midlatitude cyclogenesis results naturally from this development as does its extension to the formation of subtropical monsoon depressions. Implications for the maintenance of midlatitude temperature gradients are discussed.

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