Using thermal compression waves to assess latent heating from clouds



Meteorologists have extensively explored the dynamics of various inertial and gravity wave motions in the atmosphere [Holton, 1992; Haltiner and Williams, 1980]. These motions are assumed to be essentially incompressible, with the influence of sound waves being unimportant. Except for thunder and other propagation of audible sound waves, compression effects in the atmosphere have been generally ignored. Recently, a new theoretical framework has been developed which shows that thermally produced compression waves are critical to our understanding of atmospheric adjustment processes and the total energy budget. The thermally induced waves may provide valuable indicators of convective processes.