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Nonequilibrium thermodynamics of circulation regimes in optically thin, dry atmospheres

Pascale, S., Ragone, F., Lucarini, V. ORCID:, Wang, Y. and Boschi, R. (2013) Nonequilibrium thermodynamics of circulation regimes in optically thin, dry atmospheres. Planetary and Space Science, 84. 48 - 65. ISSN 0032-0633

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2013.04.014


An extensive analysis of an optically thin, dry atmosphere at different values of the thermal Rossby number Ro and of the Taylor number Ff is performed with a general circulation model by varying the rotation rate Omega and the surface drag tau in a wide parametric range. By using nonequilibrium thermodynamics diagnostics such as material entropy production, efficiency, meridional heat transport and kinetic energy dissipation we characterize in a new way the different circulation regimes. Baroclinic circulations feature high mechanical dissipation, meridional heat transport, material entropy production and are fairly efficient in converting heat into mechanical work. The thermal dissipation associated with the sensible heat flux is found to depend mainly on the surface properties, almost independent from the rotation rate and very low for quasi-barotropic circulations and regimes approaching equatorial super-rotation. Slowly rotating, axisymmetric circulations have the highest meridional heat transport. At high rotation rates and intermediate-high drag, atmospheric circulations are zonostrophic with very low mechanical dissipation, meridional heat transport and efficiency. When tau is interpreted as a tunable parameter associated with the turbulent boundary layer transfer of momentum and sensible heat, our results confirm the possibility of using the Maximum Entropy Production Principle as a tuning guideline in the range of values of Omega. This study suggests the effectiveness of using fundamental nonequilibrium thermodynamics for investigating the properties of planetary atmospheres and extends our knowledge of the thermodynamics of the atmospheric circulation regimes.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
ID Code:71525
Uncontrolled Keywords:Entropy production


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