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The moisture torque

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A difference − of evaporation and precipitation per latitude belt implies an exchange of mass between the atmosphere and the underlying surface. In turn, a moisture torque is exerted on the axial angular momentum with sources (sinks) where − > 0 (< 0). The corresponding formulas are derived and data are used to show that the global moisture torque amounts to ∼ 1 − 210 J. It is positive because evaporation exceeds precipitation in subtropical and tropical latitudes (except near the equator), where the earth's rotation velocity is larger than at midlatitudes where precipitation dominates. This moisture torque is small but not negligible in the angular momentum budget of the atmosphere.

Sind Verdunstung E und Niederschlag P in einem Breitengürtel verschieden, so wird Masse zwischen Atmosphäre und Erde ausgetauscht. Daraus folgt, dass dieser Gürtel ein Feuchtedrehmoment auf den polaren Drehimpuls der Atmosphäre ausübt, das positiv (negativ) ist, wenn EP > 0 (< 0). Die entsprechenden Formeln werden abgeleitet. Anhand von Daten wird gezeigt, dass das globale Feuchtedrehmoment etwa ∼ 1 − 2x1018 J beträgt. Es ist positiv, da EP in den Tropen positiv ist (außer in Äquatornähe), wo die Rotationsgeschwindigkeit der Erde größer ist als in mittleren Breiten, wo der Niederschlag überwiegt. Das Feuchtedrehmoment ist klein, aber in der Drehimpulsbilanz der Atmosphäre nicht zu vernachlässigen.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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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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