The dynamics of a polar low assessed using potential vorticity inversion
Bracegirdle, T. J. and Gray, S. L. (2009) The dynamics of a polar low assessed using potential vorticity inversion. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 135 (641). pp. 880-893. ISSN 1477-870X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/qj.411
The dynamics of a polar low are examined using a piecewise potential vorticity (PV) inversion method. In previous studies of this and other polar lows, structural evolution has been described in terms of regions of anomalous PV. In this study the relative importance of different PV anomalies and the interactions between them have been quantified using PV diagnostics. The intensification of the polar low occurred in three stages (in contrast to previous studies of polar lows that have only identified two stages). The dynamical characteristics of stages one and two are consistent with the proposed type C cyclogenesis mechanism. A diabatically-generated lower-tropospheric PV anomaly dominated intensification after initial triggering by a positive upper-level PV anomaly. A phase tilt between the upper and lower levels was maintained through retardation of the positive upper-level anomaly by the effects of latent heat release. Stage three was a period of growth dominated by wind-induced surface heat exchange (WISHE), which contributed at least 18% to the amplitude of the mature surface polar low.