The purpose of this project is to study, using meteorological observations and laboratory experiments, the relation between the wind field and the mass field in a rotating system. In part I we explore the relationship in laboratory experiments; in part II atmospheric observations of intense cyclones and hurricanes are used.
Project Description (PDF)
- Detailed description of the radial inflow tank experiment, together with associated theory. (PDF)
- View recordings of the Balanced Vortex Experiment at the Weather in a Tank Web site
- Look at the following experiment on Ekman Layers to visualize the impact of surface friction on the balance of forces.
- Notes on relevant theory: Lecture Notes from Course 12.003 (Physics of Atmospheres and Oceans) - Chapter 6 — The equations of fluid motion (PDF - 1.2 MB)
Hurricane Case Studies
Hurricane Katrina (Aug'05): NASA-EO, NCDC
Super-typhoon Ioke (Sept'06): Satellite Loop, NASA-EO, QuickScat
Hurricane Dean (Aug 07): Satellite Loop, NCDC, NASA-EO, QuickScat
Hurricane Bertha (Jul 08): NASA-EO
Surface winds from scatterometer imagery
Choose an hurricane case from the Scatterometer Imagery of Historical Storms and:
1. Plot the surface winds at different times along the path of the hurricane.
2. Choose a specific time and download the wind data to compute the Rossby number in function of radius - See Instructions
3. Discuss how the hurricane data compare to the radial inflow experiment.
Upper Air Analyses and Geostrophic/ageostrophic Flow
Planetary scale: Use Scalar and Wind to plot the 500 mb height and wind (observed and geostrophic) on the large scale. Discuss the balance of force typical of the large scale atmospheric motion.
Hurricane scale: Use Scalar and Wind to plot the 700 mb height and wind in an hurricane case.
Discuss the balance of force typical of the hurricane scale: geostrophic, cyclostrophic and gradient wind balance.
GDPLOT should be used to plot the height and wind from a regional analysis over the US.
Surface analyses and Ekman Layer
Read here for notes on the effect of friction on the geostrophic flow. (PDF - 1.5 MB)
Use GDPLOT_surf to plot the surface analyzed wind and pressure.
Use Surface Pressure and Wind to plot surface station winds and pressure. Discuss the balance of forces typical of the surface flow.