Recovery of atmospheric flow statistics in a general circulation model without nonlinear eddy-eddy interactions
Article first published online: 16 NOV 2007
Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 34, Issue 22, November 2007
How to Cite
2007), Recovery of atmospheric flow statistics in a general circulation model without nonlinear eddy-eddy interactions, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L22801, doi:10.1029/2007GL031779., and (
- Issue published online: 16 NOV 2007
- Article first published online: 16 NOV 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 OCT 2007
- Manuscript Revised: 3 OCT 2007
- Manuscript Received: 22 AUG 2007
- general circulation model;
- energy spectrum
 The closure problem of turbulence arises because nonlinear interactions among turbulent fluctuations (eddies) lead to an infinite hierarchy of moment equations for flow statistics. Here we demonstrate with an idealized general circulation model (GCM) that many atmospheric flow statistics can already be recovered if the hierarchy of moment equations is truncated at second order, corresponding to the elimination of nonlinear eddy-eddy interactions. Some, but not all, features of the general circulation remain the same. The atmospheric eddy kinetic energy spectrum retains a −3 power-law range even though this is usually explained in terms of an enstrophy cascade mediated by nonlinear eddy-eddy interactions. Our results suggest that it may be possible to construct fast general circulation models that solve for atmospheric flow statistics directly rather than via simulation of individual eddies and their interactions.