Nonlinear atmospheric adjustment to momentum forcing

Adam R. Edson, Peter R. Bannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A nonlinear, numerical model of a dry, compressible atmosphere is used to simulate the hydrostatic and geostrophic adjustment to a localized prescribed injection of momentum applied over 5 min. with a size characteristic of an isolated, deep, cumulus cloud. This theoretical study is relevant to the initialization of updrafts in compressible numerical weather prediction models. The four different forcings studied are vertical, divergent horizontal, and nondivergent horizontal momentum forcings, and a prescribed transverse circulation. These forcings are applied to an isothermal atmosphere, a nonisothermal atmosphere, and an atmosphere with a nonisothermal troposphere capped by an isothermal stratosphere. These scenarios are studied by analyzing the resulting perturbation fields and the energetics of the system. Potential vorticity is used to determine the possibility of steady atmospheric states. The energetics of the system are examined to observe the creation and propagation of atmospheric waves. Both traditional and available energetics are used to determine the presence and strength of these waves. Traditional energetics consist of kinetic, internal, and potential energies while available energetics consist of kinetic, available potential, and available elastic energies. The efficiencies are similar for these different energetics, though they represent different phenomena. The traditional energetics show a strong dependence on the presence of a Lamb wave, whereas in the available energetics the Lamb wave has little or no effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-969
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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