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A potential vorticity view of synoptic development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 1997

Brian Hoskins
Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, PO Box 243, Reading RG6 6BB, UK
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A physical discussion of vorticity and its change by stretching and tilting is presented. The discussion naturally leads on to the conservation of quasi-geostrophic potential vorticity, q, and the flow associated with anomalies in q. The extension to full potential vorticity (PV) and the associated conservation and inversion properties is made. The use for illustrating and understanding synoptic developments of maps of PV on isentropic surfaces and potential temperature (θ) on PV surfaces is shown by considering two recent examples in the North Atlantic-Europe regions. The first is a summer situation and the second is the major blocking in January 1996. Concluding comments about the role of diabetic processes and other possible uses of these diagnostics are made.

Research Article
© 1997 Meteorological Society

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