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Hamiltonian geophysical fluid dynamics

Shepherd, T. G. (2003) Hamiltonian geophysical fluid dynamics. In: Holton, J. R., Curry, J. A. and Pyle, J. A. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences. Academic Press, pp. 929-938. ISBN 9780122270901

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/B0-12-227090-8/00008-7


Hamiltonian dynamics describes the evolution of conservative physical systems. Originally developed as a generalization of Newtonian mechanics, describing gravitationally driven motion from the simple pendulum to celestial mechanics, it also applies to such diverse areas of physics as quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, statistical mechanics, electromagnetism, and optics – in short, to any physical system for which dissipation is negligible. Dynamical meteorology consists of the fundamental laws of physics, including Newton’s second law. For many purposes, diabatic and viscous processes can be neglected and the equations are then conservative. (For example, in idealized modeling studies, dissipation is often only present for numerical reasons and is kept as small as possible.) In such cases dynamical meteorology obeys Hamiltonian dynamics. Even when nonconservative processes are not negligible, it often turns out that separate analysis of the conservative dynamics, which fully describes the nonlinear interactions, is essential for an understanding of the complete system, and the Hamiltonian description can play a useful role in this respect. Energy budgets and momentum transfer by waves are but two examples.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:32122
Publisher:Academic Press

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