Tuesday, May 1, 2012
The change in the altitude of a parcel of air does whacky things. If you have ever looked at a thunder cloud you have seen the anvil top. That is where high velocity air is moving over the cloud, shearing off the top of the cloud. That is a big deal for guys like me living in hurricane country. I want to know better whether I need to plan on visiting relatives out of state or not. Low shear winds mean bigger storms which means Kansas here I come! With thunder storms, the greater the shear, the weaker the storm. Warmer rising air creates a downdraft of colder air which feeds the storm circulation. If the warmer air displaces colder air further down the road, there is less local energy to push more air into the base of the storm. Radiantly, the same thing happens. If the air above the warmer air is stationary, both masses approach the same temperature so there is radiant feedback allowing the warm air to cool slower. If the air above the warmer air is at a fixed temperature, the warmer air would continue to cool at the same rate and never be able to warm the layer above it. Try to visualize a three dimensional model with the surface, one sphere and the tropopause an outer concentric sphere. Now adjust the shape of the outer sphere so that it contours with the average tropopause temperature, say -60 degrees centigrade. It would have a large bulge at the equator and hug the surface as it approaches the poles. At one pole, it would actually intersect the inner surface sphere, leaving that pole open to the stratospheric temperatures. Now insert a sphere in the middle at the average temperature between the surface and outer spheres. Allow the surface sphere to remain fixed, rotate the middle sphere at some velocity near the average velocity of the surface wind speed and the outer sphere to rotate at the average velocity of the jet stream. You now have a basic radiant model of the coupled Earth atmosphere system. To tweak the model, include hexagonal shapes turning the spheres into "Bucky" ball geodesic shapes. Allow the middle sphere shape to rotate in simulation of the atmospheric vorticies. Now you have a model that may be able to do some good. For some reason Blogger is not allowing paragraphs, sorry.