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Barotropic aspects of large-scale atmospheric turbulence

Shepherd, T. G. ORCID: (2020) Barotropic aspects of large-scale atmospheric turbulence. In: Bouchet, F., Schneider, T., Venaille, A. and Salomon, C. (eds.) Fundamental Aspects of Turbulent Flows in Climate Dynamics. Lecture Notes of the Les Houches Summer School (109). Oxford University Press, pp. 183-222. ISBN 9780198855217

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198855217.003.0004


The chapter begins with a phenomenological treatment of the observed atmospheric circulation. It then goes on to discuss how the barotropic model arises as a so-called balanced model of the slow, vorticity-driven dynamics, from the more general shallow water model which also admits inertia-gravity waves. This is important because large-scale atmospheric turbulence exhibits aspects of both balanced and unbalanced dynamics. Because of the first-order importance of zonal flows in the atmospheric general circulation, the large-scale turbulence is highly inhomogeneous, and is shaped by the nature of the interaction between zonal flows and Rossby waves described eloquently by Michael McIntyre as a wave-turbulence jigsaw puzzle. This motivates a review of the barotropic theory of wave, mean-flow interaction, which is underpinned by the Hamiltonian structure of geophysical fluid dynamics.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:91269
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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