Eddy transport of sensible heat and the life history of synoptic systems: A statistical analysis for the Southern Hemisphere winter

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Abstract

The efficiency of successive satellite-observed stages in the development of extratropical frontal cyclones for transporting eddy sensible heat at 850 mb on the Southern Hemisphere, is determined for the five winters (June through September) of 1973-1977. An inventory of cloud vortex data is allied with independent estimates of the zonally-averaged transient eddy heat flux, {Mathematical expression}, using a statistical technique known as path analysis. Path analysis is an improvement over single equation linear regression models since it controls for the temporally continuous nature of cyclone evolution. The results indicate that different cloud vortex types are associated with characteristic regimes of {Mathematical expression}. The quite strong poleward flux of heat effected in the cyclogenetic stages weakens substantially by the onset of dissipation. These results are in general agreement with those for the summer and transition seasons derived using linear regression by Tucker (1979). However, a significant net equatorward flux of {Mathematical expression} is found to be connected with the short-lived mature (spiral) cloud vortex type. In association with a southward displacement of the maximum latitude of cyclogenesis and a reduced crosslatitude motion of systems in winter, this apparently results in the strong lower-level heat flux convergence characteristic of the circumpolar trough at that time. A systematic error, by year, in the statistical model specification of heat transport related to cloud vortex type is found to be associated with phase of the Southern Oscillation (SO). Incorporating this effect into the model greatly improves the goodness-of-fit of the heat flux estimates and indicates that the efficiency of the mcridional eddy heat transport by cyclones is greatest (least) when the SOI is low (high). The implications of these results in the context of other, related studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-152
Number of pages13
JournalMeteorology and Atmospheric Physics
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 1988

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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