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Dynamics of tilted atmospheric vortices under asymmetric diabatic heating

  • Päschke et al. (J Fluid Mech, 2012) studied the nonlinear dynamics of strongly tilted vortices subject to asymmetric diabatic heating by asymptotic methods. They found, inter alia, that an azimuthal Fourier mode 1 heating pattern can intensify or attenuate such a vortex depending on the relative orientation of the tilt and the heating asymmetries. The theory originally addressed the gradient wind regime which, asymptotically speaking, corresponds to vortex Rossby numbers of order unity in the limit. Formally, this restricts the applicability of the theory to rather weak vortices. It is shown below that said theory is, in contrast, uniformly valid for vanishing Coriolis parameter and thus applicable to vortices up to low hurricane strengths. An extended discussion of the asymptotics as regards their physical interpretation and their implications for the overall vortex dynamics is also provided in this context. The paper’s second contribution is a series of three-dimensional numerical simulations examining the effect of different orientations of dipolar diabatic heating on idealized tropical cyclones. Comparisons with numerical solutions of the asymptotic equations yield evidence that supports the original theoretical predictions of Päschke et al. In addition, the influence of asymmetric diabatic heating on the time evolution of the vortex centerline is further analyzed, and a steering mechanism that depends on the orientation of the heating dipole is revealed. Finally, the steering mechanism is traced back to the correlation of dipolar perturbations of potential temperature, induced by the vortex tilt, and vertical velocity, for which diabatic heating not necessarily needs to be responsible, but which may have other origins.

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Author:Tom Doerffel, Ariane Papke, Rupert Klein, Natalia Ernst, Piotr K. Smolarkiewicz
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics
First Page:831
Last Page:873
Date of first Publication:2021/11/10
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