Equilibration of a baroclinic planetary atmosphere toward the limit of vanishing bottom friction
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
American Meteorological Society
This paper discusses whether and how a baroclinic atmosphere can equilibrate with very small bottom friction in a dry, primitive equation, general circulation model. The model is forced by a Newtonian relaxation of temperature to a prescribed temperature profile, and it is damped by a linear friction near the lower boundary. When friction is decreased by four orders of magnitude, kinetic energy dissipation by friction gradually becomes negligible,while “energy recycling” becomes dominant. In this limit kinetic energy is converted back into potential energy at the largest scales, thus closing the energy cycle without significant frictional dissipation. The momentum fluxes are of opposite sign in the upper and lower atmosphere: in the upper atmosphere, eddies converge momentum into the westerly jets, however, in the lower atmosphere, the eddies diverge momentum out of the westerly jets. The secondary circulation driven by the meridional eddy momentum fluxes thus acts to increase the baroclinicity of the westerly jet. This regime may be relevant for the Jovian atmosphere, where the frictional time scale may be much larger than the radiative damping time scale.
This work was funded by the NSF under grant 656 AGS-1144302 and the NOAA under grant NA08OAR4320752.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the American Meteorological Society via the DOI in this record.
Published Online: 2 May, 2016