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Journal Articles Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres Year : 2022

Dynamics of the Atlantic Marine Intertropical Convergence Zone


A generalized ω-equation is used to identify the contributions from different processes that force upward motions in the Atlantic Marine ITCZ (AMI) from a numerical mesoscale simulation of June 2010. This ω-equation separates the diabatic heating contributions, which lie at the core of the Weak Temperature Gradient (WTG) framework, from the dynamical terms. Three layers of atmosphere are found with different balance. In the Marine Atmospheric Boundary-Layer (MABL), the upward motions in the AMI are induced by the frontogenesis and buoyancy components, which are regulated by the ageostrophic adjustment due to the presence of thermal-wind imbalance. The balance of these three processes well captures the variability of the vertical velocity and the associated precipitation, meaning that boundary-layer processes play a central role in the AMI dynamics. In the layer [600-2,000 m], a zone of strong vertical wind-shear just above the MABL, the upward motions are induced by the ageostrophic adjustment and radiative components, which are counteracted by evaporation of convective precipitation. Above 2,000 m the ascending motions are driven by the deep convection heating, as expected by the WTG framework, and more surprisingly by the ageostrophic adjustment term within the Tropical Easterly Jet. Thanks to the use of the ω-equation, these results extend the current WTG framework to the boundary layer, where it is not expected to hold. In the free troposphere, the WTG framework only accounts for half of the AMI ascent, the other half being forced by the dynamical terms.
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Dates and versions

insu-03863746 , version 1 (21-11-2022)


Attribution - CC BY 4.0



Hervé Giordani, Philippe Peyrillé. Dynamics of the Atlantic Marine Intertropical Convergence Zone. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2022, 127, ⟨10.1029/2021JD036392⟩. ⟨insu-03863746⟩
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