A diabatically-generated potential vorticity structure near the extratropical tropopause in three simulated extratropical cyclones
Chagnon, J. M. and Gray, S. L. (2015) A diabatically-generated potential vorticity structure near the extratropical tropopause in three simulated extratropical cyclones. Monthly Weather Review, 143 (6). pp. 2337-2347. ISSN 0027-0644
To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-14-00092.1
The structure of near-tropopause potential vorticity (PV) acts as a primary control on the evolution of extratropical cyclones. Diabatic processes such as the latent heating found in ascending moist warm conveyor belts modify PV. A dipole in diabatically-generated PV (hereafter diabatic PV) straddling the extratropical tropopause, with the positive pole above the negative pole, was diagnosed in a recently published analysis of a simulated extratropical cyclone. This PV dipole has the potential to significantly modify the propagation of Rossby waves and the growth of baroclinically-unstable waves. This previous analysis was based on a single case study simulated with 12-km horizontal grid spacing and parameterized convection. Here, the dipole is investigated in three additional cold-season extratropical cyclones simulated in both convection-parameterizing and convection-permitting model configurations. A diabatic PV dipole across the extratropical tropopause is diagnosed in all three cases. The amplitude of the dipole saturates approximately 36 hours from the time diabatic PV is accumulated. The node elevation of the dipole varies between 2-4 PVU in the three cases, and the amplitude of the system-averaged dipole varies between 0.2-0.4 PVU. The amplitude of the negative pole is similar in the convection-parameterizing and convection-permitting simulations. The positive pole, which is generated by long-wave radiative cooling, is weak in the convection-permitting simulations due to the small domain size which limits the accumulation of diabatic tendencies within the interior of the domain. The possible correspondence between the diabatic PV dipole and the extratropical tropopause inversion layer is discussed.