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Is geostrophic turbulence relevant for tropospheric dynamics?

Vallis, GK (Princeton)
Thursday 11 December 2008, 09:30-10:00

Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute


Geostrophic turbulence is a model for understanding the large-scale structure and flow of energy in stably-stratified, rapidly rotating flows that, typically, are baroclinically unstable or driven externally by small-scale convection. Inverse energy cascades and the production of zonality by the beta effect robust predictions for such flows. Is such a model relevant for the Earth's troposphere? On the one hand it appears that such a model must surely be relevant because of its generality, but on the other hand the inverse cascade is noticeable by its absence in the Earth's atmosphere, and zonal jets do not appear as well formed as those on some other planets. We will discuss these issues, and compare some turbulent simulations from a quasi-geostrophic model with those from a primitive-equation model in parameter settings including, but not restricted to, the Earth's troposphere. Joint work with P. Zurita-Gotor.


[pdf ]


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