Original paper

Deviations from a general nonlinear wind balance: Local and zonal-mean perspectives

Gaßmann, Almut

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 23 No. 5 (2014), p. 467 - 481

20 references

published: Dec 11, 2014
published online: Sep 26, 2014
manuscript accepted: Jul 14, 2014
manuscript revision received: Jul 14, 2014
manuscript revision requested: Mar 27, 2014
manuscript received: Dec 17, 2013

DOI: 10.1127/metz/2014/0568

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The paper introduces the active wind as the deviation from a general local wind balance, the inactive wind. The inactive wind is directed along intersection lines of Bernoulli function and potential temperature surfaces. In climatological steady state, the inactive mass flux cannot participate in net-mass fluxes, because the mean position of the mentioned intersection lines does not change. A conceptual proximity of the zonal-mean active wind to the residual wind as occurring in the transformed Eulerian mean equations suggests itself. The zonal- and time-mean active wind is compared to the residual wind for the Held-Suarez test case. Similarities occur for the meridional components in the zone of Rossby wave breaking in the upper troposphere equatorward of the jet. The vertical components are similar, too. However, the vertical active wind is much stronger in the baroclinic zone. This is due to the missing vertical eddy flux of Ertel's potential vorticity (EPV) in the TEM equations. The largest differences are to be found in the boundary layer, where the active wind exhibits typical pattern of Ekman dynamics. Instantaneous active wind vectors demonstrate mass-inflow for lows and mass-outflow for highs in the boundary layer. An active meridional wind is associated with a filamentation of EPV in the zone of Rossby wave breaking in about 300 hPa. Strong gradients of EPV act as a transport barrier.


nonlinear wind balancedynamic state index (DSI)TEM equations