92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 11:30 AM
Impact of Coordinates on the Structure of the Atmospheric Zonal Mean Circulation
Room 353 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Joe Egger, Universitat Munchen, Munich, Germany

The atmospheric zonal mean circulation has first been evaluated in pressure coordinates with the mass streamfunction consisiting of a Hadley cell and a Ferrel cell in each hemisphere. The result was almost the same for height coordinates but the switch to isentropic coordinates implied a dramatic change towards one direct cell in a hemisphere.Changes are again dramatic if specific humidity is chosen as a vertical coordinate, while use of a terrain following 'isentropic' coordinate leads to a mass circulation which is closer to that in height coordinates. Patterns with new specific circulations near the ground result if potential vorticity is chosen as a meridional coordinate.

Altogether, there appears to be a large variety of mass stream function patterns which result from the choice of the coordinate system. They all shed light on the complexity of the general circulation of the atmosphere but only few of them have been explored as yet in sufficient detail.

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