A convective vorticity vector associated with tropical convection: A two-dimensional cloud-resolving modeling study

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Abstract

[1] Although dry/moist potential vorticity ((equation image · ∇θe)/ρ) is a useful physical quantity for meteorological analysis, it cannot be applied to the analysis of two-dimensional (2-D) simulations. A new vorticity vector (equation image × ∇θe)/ρ (convective vorticity vector (CVV)) is introduced in this study to analyze 2-D cloud-resolving simulation data associated with 2-D tropical convection. The cloud model is forced by the vertical velocity, zonal wind, horizontal advection, and sea surface temperature obtained from the Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere (TOGA) Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) and is integrated for a selected 10-day period. The CVV has zonal and vertical components in the 2-D x-z frame. Analysis of zonally averaged and mass-integrated quantities shows that the correlation coefficient between the vertical component of the CVV and the sum of the cloud hydrometeor mixing ratios is 0.81, whereas the correlation coefficient between the zonal component and the sum of the mixing ratios is only 0.18. This indicates that the vertical component of the CVV is closely associated with tropical convection. The tendency equation for the vertical component of the CVV is derived and the zonally averaged and mass-integrated tendency budgets are analyzed. The tendency of the vertical component of the CVV is determined by the interaction between the vorticity and the zonal gradient of cloud heating. The results demonstrate that the vertical component of the CVV is a cloud-linked parameter and can be used to study tropical convection.

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