The Dissipation Structure of Extratropical Cyclones

Li, Jiangnan; Chylek, Petr; Zhang, Feng
January 2014
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences;Jan2014, Vol. 71 Issue 1, p69
Academic Journal
The physical characteristics of extratropical cyclones are investigated based on nonequilibrium thermodynamics. Nonequilibrium thermodynamics, using entropy as its main tool, has been widely used in many scientific fields. The entropy balance equation contains two parts: the internal entropy production corresponds to dissipation and the external entropy production corresponds to boundary entropy supply. It is shown that dissipation is always present in a cyclone and the dissipation center is not always coincident with the low-pressure center, especially for incipient cyclones. The different components of internal entropy production correspond to different dissipation processes. Usually the thermal dissipation due to turbulent vertical diffusion and convection lags geographically the dynamic dissipation due to wind stress. At the incipient stage, the dissipation is mainly thermal in nature. A concept of temperature shear is introduced as the result of thermal dissipation. The temperature shear provides a useful diagnostic for extratropical cyclone identification. The boundary entropy supply and the entropy advection are also strongly associated with cyclones. The entropy advection is generally positive (negative) in the leading (trailing) part of a cyclone. A regional study in the western Pacific clearly demonstrates that the surface entropy flux and temperature shear are the most reliable early signals of cyclones in the cyclogenesis stage.


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