Numerical simulation of baroclinic waves with a parameterized boundary layer
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/2007JAS2269.1
A dry three-dimensional baroclinic life cycle model is used to investigate the role of turbulent fluxes of heat and momentum within the boundary layer on mid-latitude cyclones. Simulations are performed of life cycles for two basic states, both with and without turbulent fluxes. The different basic states produce cyclones with contrasting frontal and mesoscale-flow structures. The analysis focuses on the generation of potential-vorticity (PV) in the boundary layer and its subsequent transport into the free troposphere. The dynamic mechanism through which friction mitigates a barotropic vortex is that of Ekman pumping. This has often been assumed to be also the dominant mechanism for baroclinic developments. The PV framework highlights an additional, baroclinic mechanism. Positive PV is generated baroclinically due to friction to the north-east of a surface low and is transported out of the boundary layer by a cyclonic conveyor belt flow. The result is an anomaly of increased static stability in the lower troposphere which restricts the growth of the baroclinic wave. The reduced coupling between lower and upper levels can be sufficient to change the character of the upper-level evolution of the mature wave. The basic features of the baroclinic damping mechanism are robust for different frontal structures, with and without turbulent heat fluxes, and for the range of surface roughness found over the oceans.