Gertler, Charles G. and O’Gorman, Paul A. and Pfahl, Stephan
(2023)
*Moist available potential energy of the mean state of the atmosphere
and the thermodynamic potential for warm conveyor belts
and convection.*
Weather Clim. Dynam., 4
.
pp. 361-379.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-4-361-2023

## Abstract

Much of our understanding of atmospheric circulation comes from relationships between aspects of the circulation and the mean state of the atmosphere. In particular, the concept of mean available potential energy (MAPE) has been used previously to relate the strength of the extratropical storm tracks to the zonal-mean temperature and humidity distributions. Here, we calculate for the first time the MAPE of the zonally varying (i.e., three-dimensional) time-mean state of the atmosphere including the effects of latent heating. We further calculate a local MAPE by restricting the domain to an assumed eddy size, and we partition this local MAPE into convective and nonconvective components. Local convective MAPE maximizes in the subtropics and midlatitudes, in many cases in regions of the world that are known to have intense convection. Local nonconvective MAPE has a spatial pattern similar to the Eady growth rate, although local nonconvective MAPE has the advantage that it takes into account latent heating. Furthermore, the maximum potential ascent associated with local nonconvective MAPE is related to the frequency of warm conveyor belts (WCBs), which are ascending airstreams in extratropical cyclones with large impacts on weather. This maximum potential ascent can be calculated based only on mean temperature and humidity, and WCBs tend to start in regions of high maximum potential ascent on a given day. These advances in the use of MAPE are expected to be helpful to connect changes in the mean state of the atmosphere, such as under global warming, to changes in important aspects of extratropical circulation.

Item Type: | Article |
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Subjects: | Mathematical and Computer Sciences > Mathematics > Applied Mathematics |

Divisions: | Department of Mathematics and Computer Science > Institute of Mathematics |

ID Code: | 3026 |

Deposited By: | Monika Drueck |

Deposited On: | 17 Aug 2023 12:40 |

Last Modified: | 17 Aug 2023 12:40 |

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