The Hadley circulation and the weak temperature gradient approximation

Publication Type  Journal Article
Year of Publication  2002
Authors  Polvani, L. M.; Sobel, A. H.
Journal Title  Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume  59
Issue  10
Pages  1744-1752
Journal Date  May 15
ISBN Number  0022-4928
Accession Number  ISI:000175074000008
Key Words  steady-state models; symmetrical atmosphere; basic state; instability; climate; itcz; time

The weak temperature gradient (WTG) approximation is applied to simple shallow-water models of the Hadley circulation. While it is difficult to formally justify the use of the WTG approximation for this problem, the derived WTG solutions are shown to agree well with numerical solutions of the full equations and to converge to the traditional angular momentum conserving (AMC) solutions in the inviscid limit. Heuristic arguments are given to explain this. The WTG method also provides semianalytical solutions in the case of nonvanishing viscosity, in contrast to the AMC solutions, which are strictly inviscid.


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