Izvestiya, Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 64–71 | Cite as

Vertical helicity flux in atmospheric vortices as a measure of their intensity

Article

Abstract

It is suggested that the downward helicity flux (through the upper boundary of the viscous turbulent boundary layer) be treated as a measure of the intensity of atmospheric vortices, including tropical cyclones, tornadoes, and dust devils. As follows immediately from the general helicity balance equation known in the literature, this flux is determined by the product of the cubed maximum wind speed and the width of the strip swept by the maximum wind during vortex movement. For intense vortices in their steady-state, mature stage, this helicity flux can also serve as a measure of the rate of helicity destruction by the forces of viscous turbulent friction. Examples of applying the introduced notion to the diagnostics of tornadoes and their classification according to a destructive force are given. A comparative analysis (according to helicity flux values) of dust devils on the Earth and Mars, on the one hand, and tornadoes, on the other, is presented.

Keywords

Tropical Cyclone Oceanic Physic Potential Vorticity Maximum Wind Speed Dust Devil 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    H. K. Moffatt, “The Degree of Knottedness of Tangled Vortex Lines,” J. Fluid Mech. 35, Part 1, 117–129 (1969).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    F. V. Dolzhanskii, “On Mechanical Prototypes of Fundamental Hydrodynamic Invariants and Slow Manifolds,” Usp. Fiz. Nauk 175, 1257–1288 (2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    M. V. Kurgansky, “Relationship between Helicity and Potential Vorticity in a Compressible Rotating Fluid,” Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Fiz. Atmos. Okeana 25, 1326–1329 (1989).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    M. V. Kurgansky, “Generation of Helicity in a Moist Atmosphere,” Izv. Akad. Nauk, Fiz. Atm. Okeana 29, 464–469 (1993).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    M. V. Kurgansky, “Helicity Flux in a Compressible Baroclinic Atmosphere and Its Properties,” Izv. Akad. Nauk, Fiz. Atmos. Okeana 41, 8–13 (2005) [Izv., Atmos. Ocean. Phys. 41, 4–8 (2005)].Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    R. Hide, “Superhelicity, Helicity and Potential Vorticity,” Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dyn. 48, 69–79 (1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    M. V. Kurgansky, “Helicity Production and Maintenance in a Baroclinic Atmosphere,” Meteorol. Z. 15, 409–416 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    S. G. Chefranov, “On a Scale-Invariant Criterion of Similarity for Rotating Flows in Laboratory Modeling of Tornado-Like Vortices,” Izv. Akad. Nauk, Fiz. Atm. Okeana 39, 760–765 (2003) [Izv., Atmos. Ocean. Phys. 41, 685–689 (2003)].Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    D. K. Lilly, “The Development and Maintenance of Rotation in a Convective Storm,” in Intense Atmospheric Vortices, Ed. by L. Bengtsson and J. Lighthill (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1982), pp. 149–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    D. Etling, “Some Aspects of Helicity in Atmospheric Flows,” Beitr. Phys. Atmos. 58, 88–100 (1985).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    M. V. Kurgansky, Adiabatic Invariants in Large-scale Atmospheric Dynamics (Gidrometeoizdat, St. Petersburg, 1993; Taylor & Francis, London, 2002).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    K. J. Mallen, M. T. Montomery, and B. Wang, “Reexamining the Near-Core Radial Structure of the Tropical Cyclone Primary Circulation: Implications for Vortex Resiliency,” J. Atmos. Sci. 62, 408–425 (2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    H. Riehl, Climate and Weather in the Tropics (Gidrometeoizdat, Leningrad, 1984; Academic, London, 1979).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    K. A. Emanuel, “Increasing Destructiveness of Tropical Cyclones over the Past 30 Years,” Nature 436, 686–688 (2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    W.-C. Lee and J. Wurman, “Diagnosed Three-Dimensional Axisymmetric Structure of the Mulhall Tornado on 3 May 1999,” J. Atmos. Sci. 62, 2373–2393 (2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    R. B. Smith, “A Hurricane Beta-Drift Law,” J. Atmos. Sci. 50, 3213–3215 (1993).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    J. Wurman, C. Alexander, P. Robinson, and Y. Richardson, “Low-Level Winds in Tornadoes and Potential Catastrophic Tornado Impacts in Urban Areas,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 88, 31–46 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    A. I. Snitkovskii, “Tornadoes in the USSR,” Meteorol. Gidrol., No. 9, 12–25 (1987).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    I. A. Pisnichenko, “Role of Phase Transitions of Moisture in Processes of Tornado Formation,” Izv. Akad. Nauk, Fiz. Atmos. Okeana 29, 793–798 (1993).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    M. Balme and R. Greeley, “Dust Devils on Earth and Mars,” Rev. Geophys. 44, RG3003 (1–22), doi: 10.1029/2005RG000188 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    H. B. Bluestein, “Tornadoes,” in Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather, Ed. by S. H. Schneider (Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 1996), Vol. 2, pp. 764–768.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© MAIK Nauka 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oboukhov Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Department of Geophysics, Faculty of Physics and MathematicsUniversity of ConcepciónConcepciónChile

Personalised recommendations