Synthesis of Vortex Rossby Waves. Part II: Vortex Motion and Waves in the Outer Waveguide
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Synthesis of Vortex Rossby Waves. Part II: Vortex Motion and Waves in the Outer Waveguide

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
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    Beta, the meridional gradient of planetary vorticity, causes tropical cyclones to propagate poleward and westward at approximately 2 m s(-1). In a previous shallow-water linear model, the simulated vortex accelerated without limit, ostensibly because beta forced a free linear mode. In the analogous nonlinear model, wave-wave interaction limited the propagation speed. Subsequent work based upon the asymmetric balance (AB) approximation was unable to replicate the linear result.The present barotropic nondivergent model replicates the linear beta gyres as a streamfunction dipole with a uniform southeasterly ventilation flow across the vortex. The simulated storm accelerates to unphysical, but finite, speeds that are limited by vorticity filamentation. In the analogous nonlinear model, nonlinearly forced wavenumber-1 gyres have opposite phase to the linear gyres so that their ventilation flow counteracts advection by the linear gyres to limit the overall vortex speed to approximately 3 m s(-1).A bounded mean vortex with zero circulation at large radius must contain an outer annulus of anticyclonic vorticity to satisfy the circulation theorem. The resulting positive mean vorticity gradient constitutes an outer waveguide that supports downstream-propagating, very-low-frequency vortex Rossby waves. It is confined between an inner critical radius where the waves are absorbed and an outer turning point where they are reflected. Vorticity filamentation at the critical radius limits the beta-drift acceleration. The original unlimited linear acceleration stemmed from too-weak dissipation caused by second-order diffusion applied to velocity components instead of vorticity. Fourth-order diffusion and no outer waveguide in the Rankine-like vortex of the AB simulations plausibly explain the different results.
  • Source:
    Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 72(10), 3958-3974.
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