Get access

Transfer properties of the large-scale eddies and the general circulation of the atmosphere



The transfer of heat and momentum by motion on the scale of cyclone waves and long waves is deduced from a knowledge of their mechanics. The law of horizontal transfer of entropy is independent of notions of mixing but is similar to that for non-isotropic diffusion. The law accurately represents the annual variation of heat-flux in the Northern Hemisphere. Perturbation theory suggests realistic spatial variations for the transfer and provides a rational basis for calculating transfer coefficients which can then be used to find the flux of other conservative quantities. Most importantly the Equatorward flux of potential vorticity is well defined and is shown to determine the horizontal flux of momentum uv. The mean surface winds, and the mean meridional circulation (which is seen to be frictionally driven) are then determined. A model of the general circulation is defined by these properties, and this is integrated analytically for a simplified case and compared with motion observed in the Gulf Stream, the mesosphere, and dishpan experiments as well as the troposphere.

Get access to the full text of this article