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Mountain torques in quasigeostrophic theory

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Mountain torques are generated by the interaction of pressure gradients and orography. It is shown that mountain torques in this sense are excluded in quasigeostrophic theory (QT). On the other hand, angular momentum equations can be derived from the vorticity equations of QT which contain a mountain torque. This paradox is discussed in this note. It is demonstrated that QT replaces the mountain torque by a 'torque' due to the ageostrophic flows into and out of the ground due to the assumption of shallow orography. New interpretations of the mountain torque are proposed.

Orographische Drehmomente werden durch das Wechselspiel von Druckgradienten und Bergen hervorgerufen. Es wird gezeigt, daß dieser Mechanismus in der quasigeostrophischen Theorie (QT) ausgeschlossen ist. Andererseits können aus den Vorticitygleichungen der QT Drehimpulsbilanzen abgeleitet werden, bei denen das orographische Drehmoment auftritt. Diese paradoxe Situation wird geklärt, indem gezeigt wird, daß in der QT der Part der orographischen Drehmomente durch ageostrophische Strömungen übernommen wird, die bei der in der QT verwendeten flachen Orographie die Erdoberfläche durchdringen. Neue Interpretationen des orographischen Drehmoments werden vorgeschlagen.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-12-01

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  • Meteorologische Zeitschrift (originally founded in 1866) is the joint periodical of the meteorological societies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It accepts high-quality peer-reviewed manuscripts on all aspects of observational, theoretical and computational research out of the entire field of meteorology, including climatology. Meteorologische Zeitschrift represents a natural forum for the meteorological community of Central Europe and worldwide.
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