Diffusive theories for the meridional atmospheric energy transport can summarize our understanding of this central aspect of the general circulation. They can also be utilized in simple models of Earth's energy balance to help interpret the response of the system to perturbations. A theory for this diffusivity of eddy heat transport is described based on Rhines scaling and the global entropy budget, each of which provides a constraint between the kinetic energy dissipation and the diffusivity. An expression for the diffusivity is then obtained by eliminating the dissipation from this set of two constraints. The theory can be thought of as a generalization of the theories of Held-Larichev and Barry-Craig-Thuburn. The theory is compared to simulations of the Held-Suarez idealized dry atmospheric model. Limitations of the theory are emphasized. The form of the theory allows it to be readily generalized to a moist atmosphere.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science
- Atmospheric circulation
- Energy transport