A generalization of Petterssen's frontogenesis function and its relation to the forcing of vertical motion

D. Keyser, M. J. Reeder, R. J. Reed

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121 Citations (Scopus)


In order to investigate quantitatively the relative importance of the magnitude and direction contribution to the vector frontogenesis function, we consider three analytical examples. These examples describe the evolution of a potential temperature field represented initially by a linear band of isentropes situated within specified horizontal wind fields that are nondivergent and steady state. The wind fields respectively are a hyperbolic streamline pattern characterised by pure deformation, a meridional wind field varying only in the zonal direction, and an axisymmetric vortex. In each of these examples, it is found that the Lagrangian rates of change of the magnitude and direction of the potential temperature gradient are comparable. In order to explore the dynamical implications of this finding, we separate the Q-vector forcing into contributions consisting of the magnitude and direction components of the vector frontogenesis function. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-780
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes

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