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Baroclinic instability in the two-layer model: interpretations

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Two new interpretations of the wellknown instability criterion of the two-layer model of baroclinic instability are given whereby also a slight generalization of this model is introduced by admitting an interface on top with a reduced gravity . It is found that instability sets in when the horizontal potential temperature advection by the barotropic mode becomes more important than the vertical temperature advection due to this mode. The second interpretation is based on potential vorticity (PV) thinking. Instability implies a dominance of the vertical PV coupling coefficient compared to horizontal mean state PV advection generated at the same level. The interface damps with decreasing .

Zwei neue Interpretationen des bekannten Kriteriums für barokline Instabilität des Zweischichtenenmodells werden vorgetragen. Zusätzlich wird dieses Modell noch durch eine freie Oberfläche variiert. Es zeigt sich, dass barokline Instabilität dann eintritt, wenn die horizontale Advektion potentieller Temperatur durch den barotropen Störungsanteil dessen Vertikaladvektion überwiegt. Die zweite Interpretation beruht auf dem PV-Konzept. Demnach tritt Instabilität dann ein, wenn die vertikale Koppelung der potentiellen Vorticity die horizontale PV-advektion überwiegt. Der Einfluss des freien oberen Randes ist dämpfend.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-10-01

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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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