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Is the Isentropic Surface Always Impermeable to the Potential Vorticity Substance?


doi: 10.1007/s00376-011-0227-0

  • The impermeability of isentropic surfaces by the potential vorticity substance (PVS) has often been used to help understand the generation of potential vorticity in the presence of diabatic heating and friction. In this study, we examined singularities of isentropic surfaces that may develop in the presence of diabatic heating and the fictitious movements of the isentropic surfaces that are involved in deriving the PVS impermeability theorem. Our results show that such singularities could occur in the upper troposphere as a result of intense convective-scale motion, at the cloud top due to radiative cooling, or within the well-mixed boundary layer. These locally ill-defined conditions allow PVS to penetrate across an isentropic surface. We conclude that the PVS impermeability theorem is generally valid for the stably stratified atmosphere in the absence of diabatic heating.
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Manuscript History

Manuscript received: 10 January 2012
Manuscript revised: 10 January 2012
通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
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Is the Isentropic Surface Always Impermeable to the Potential Vorticity Substance?

  • 1. Laboratory of Climate and Weather Research, Hanoi College of Science, Vietnam National University, Vietnam 10000,Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740

Abstract: The impermeability of isentropic surfaces by the potential vorticity substance (PVS) has often been used to help understand the generation of potential vorticity in the presence of diabatic heating and friction. In this study, we examined singularities of isentropic surfaces that may develop in the presence of diabatic heating and the fictitious movements of the isentropic surfaces that are involved in deriving the PVS impermeability theorem. Our results show that such singularities could occur in the upper troposphere as a result of intense convective-scale motion, at the cloud top due to radiative cooling, or within the well-mixed boundary layer. These locally ill-defined conditions allow PVS to penetrate across an isentropic surface. We conclude that the PVS impermeability theorem is generally valid for the stably stratified atmosphere in the absence of diabatic heating.

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