Riehl and Malkus Revisited: The Role of Cloud-Radiative Effects
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Riehl and Malkus Revisited: The Role of Cloud-Radiative Effects

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
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  • Description:
    The intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) exports energy and imports moisture. This has been understood for decades. By analyzing a set of uniform, nonrotating aquaplanet simulations, we show that energy export and moisture convergence are general characteristics of warm humid regions, and not just of the ITCZ. Using an analysis method based on the column relative humidity, we find that the absorption of longwave radiation by clouds supplies the energy that is exported from humid regions. The longwave absorption also induces a thermally direct circulation that lifts water vapor and converges moisture into regions that are already quite humid. An additional set of simulations shows that strong atmospheric energy convergence is absent when radiation is homogenized across the domain.
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  • Source:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126, e2021JD035019
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    CC BY
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