Journal article

Potential vorticity and the electrostatics analogy: Quasi‐geostrophic theory

CH Bishop, AJ Thorpe

Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society | Wiley | Published : 1994


Potential vorticity (PV) is a property of the atmosphere which is characterized by the divergence of a vector field. It is illuminating to draw an analogy between electrical charges and PV anomalies. Here the field induced by quasi‐geostrophic PV charges is chosen to be a quantity that does not depend on conditions imposed at boundaries at a finite distance from the anomaly, or on the mean static‐stability or density profiles. This field describes ‘action‐at‐a‐distance’. Elementary PV charges involve circulation about a vertical axis as well as a vertically oriented temperature dipole. A further consequence of this electrostatics analogy is that the atmosphere is analogous to an anisotropic ..

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