Monday, 30 July 2001
Ageostrophic Forcing in a height tendency equation: two case studies.
The role of the ageostrophic vorticity tendencies in the Zwack-Okossi vorticity tendency equation have been examined within the context that this term acts as a correction term for the vorticity tendency or height tendency calculations. In this paper, this term is shown to act as both a response to initial forcing and as a forcing in modulating the initial forcing. Using an earlier methodology for partitioning the wind field and the height field into their divergent and rotational parts, the ageostrophic wind is shown to contain components of both parts. This provides for an improved method of calculating the ageostrophic wind rather than simply calculating it as a residual. Two case studies, an Atlantic Region blocking event and a rapidly developing cyclone over North America, are then examined to demonstrate this point. For both case studies, the calculated height tendencies using the derived ageostrophic winds and those calculated as a residual overestimated the height tendencies, especially at the surface. While the correlation coefficients show that the two methods are comparable at 500 hPa, at the surface there is a notable degree of improvement in the pattern similarity. This resulted in an improved representation of the 500 hPa height tendencies for the onset of the Atlantic blocking event despite marginal improvements in the calculated field overall.