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Title: Potential Vorticity and Balanced and Unbalanced Moisture
Atmospheric flows are often decomposed into balanced (low frequency) and unbalanced (high frequency) components. For a dry atmosphere, it is known that a single mode, the potential vorticity (PV), is enough to describe the balanced flow and determine its evolution. For a moist atmosphere with phase changes, on the other hand, balanced–unbalanced decompositions involve additional complexity. In this paper, we illustrate that additional balanced modes, beyond PV, arise from the moisture. To support and motivate the discussion, we consider balanced–unbalanced decompositions arising from a simplified Boussinesq numerical simulation and a hemispheric-sized channel simulation using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. One important role of the balanced moist modes is in the inversion principle that is used to recover the moist balanced flow: rather than traditional PV inversion that involves only the PV variable, it is PV-and- M inversion that is needed, involving M variables that describe the moist balanced modes. In examples of PV-and- M inversion, we show that one can decompose all significant atmospheric variables, including total water or water vapor, into balanced (vortical mode) and unbalanced (inertio-gravity wave) components. The moist inversion, thus, extends the traditional dry PV inversion to allow for moisture and phase changes. In addition, we illustrate that the moist balanced modes are essentially conserved quantities of the flow, and they act qualitatively as additional PV-like modes of the system that track balanced moisture.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1907667 1443325
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1913 to 1931
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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