Zhang Y., P. H. Stone and A. Solomon (June 2009): The Role of Boundary Layer Processes in Limiting PV Homogenization. J. Atmos. Sci., 66, 1612-1632. doi:10.1175/2008JAS2914.1

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A β-plane multilevel quasigeostrophic channel model with interactive static stability and a simplified parameterization of atmospheric boundary layer physics is used to study the role of different boundary layer processes in eddy equilibration and their relative effect in maintaining the strong boundary layer potential vorticity (PV) gradient. The model results show that vertical thermal diffusion, along with the surface heat exchange, is primarily responsible for limiting PV homogenization by baroclinic eddies in the boundary layer. Under fixed SST boundary conditions, these two processes act as the source of the mean flow baroclinicity in the lower levels and result in stronger eddy heat fluxes. Reducing surface friction alone does not result in efficient elimination of the boundary layer PV gradient, but the equilibrium state temperature gradient is still largely influenced by surface friction and its response to changes in surface friction is not monotonic. In the regime of strong surface friction, with reduced poleward eddy heat flux, a strong temperature gradient is still retained. When the surface friction is sufficiently weak along with the stronger zonal wind, the critical level at the center of the jet drops below the surface. As a result, in the lower levels, the eddy heat flux forcing on the mean flow moves away from the center of the jet and the equilibrium state varies only slightly with the strength of the vertical momentum diffusion in the boundary layer.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1175/2008JAS2914.1
URI: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/pubs/id/eprint/476