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The effect of orography on the global atmospheric angular momentum and the general circulation

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Abstract:

Orographic features affect the atmospheric circulation not only locally but also globally. In this paper, the latter is quantified in terms of the global relative angular momentum in a series of numerical experiments using the Portable University Model of the Atmosphere (PUMA). Two effects of an orographic barrier on the atmospheric relative angular momentum are identified. On the one hand, an orographic barrier acts to break the zonal symmetry of the circulation. Because of the symmetry breaking, the energy inputed is stored not only in the time-mean part, but also in the time-varying part of the zonal flow, leading to a reduction in the mean and an enhancement in the variance of the relative angular momentum. On the other hand, orographic features lead also to changes in the eddy momentum fluxes, which are necessary to balance the mountain torque. These eddy fluxes induce an increase of global relative angular momentum through a strengthening and an equatorward shift of the zonal flow. The second effect prevents a further decrease in the global relative angular momentum with an increase in the height of the barrier.

German
Die Orographie der Erdoberfläche hat sowohl regionale als auch globale Auswirkung auf die atmosphärische Zirkulation. In dieser Arbeit wird die letztere, unter Betrachtung des globalen relativen Drehimpulses, anhand von numerischen Experimenten mit dem PUMA Modell untersucht. Zwei Effekte werden identifiziert. Zum einen verursacht ein Hindernis eine Unterbrechung der zonalen Symmetrie. Dadurch wird die der PUMA-Atmosphäre zugefügte Energie nicht nur in dem mittleren, sondern auch in dem zeitlich variierenden Zonalstrom gespeichert, was zu einer Reduzierung des Mittelwerts und gleichzeitig zu einer Zunahme in der Varianz des globalen relativen Drehimpulses führt. Zum anderen ruft ein Hindernis Änderung im Eddyimpulsfluss hervor, die notwendig ist, um das Gebirgsmoment auszugleichen. Eine solche Änderung führt zu einer Zunahme des mittleren relativen Drehimpulses der Atmosphäre durch eine Verstärkung und eine Verlagerung des Zonalstroms äquatorwärts. Der zweite Effekt verhindert ein weitere Abnahme des relativen Drehimpulses bei einer Erhöhung des Hindernisses.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/0941-2948/2005/0041

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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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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