Dependence of Polar Low Development on Baroclinicity and Physical Processes: An Idealized High-Resolution Numerical Experiment
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Polar low dynamics in an idealized atmosphere in which baroclinicity, stratification, and average temperature are varied in the typically observed range is investigated using a 5-km-resolution nonhydrostatic model. The baroclinicity is found to be the most important factor that strongly controls the polar low dynamics. When the baroclinicity is weak, a small, nearly axisymmetric vortex develops through a cooperative interaction between the vortex flow and cumulus convection. The surface
... The surface friction promotes the vortex dynamics by transporting the sensible heat and moisture into the vortex center. The vortex development has a strong sensitivity to the initial perturbation. As the baroclinicity is increased, most of the characteristics of polar low dynamics change smoothly without showing any significant regime shift. The vortex for an intermediate baroclinicity, however, moves northward, which is a unique behavior. This is caused by vortex stretching on the northern side of the vortex where intense convection produces a stronger updraft. When the baroclinicity is strong, a larger vortex with a comma-shaped cloud pattern develops. The condensational heating, baroclinic conversion from the basic available potential energy, and conversion from the basic kinetic energy through the vertical shear all contribute to the vortex development, which depends little on the initial perturbation. The above relations between baroclinicity and vortex dynamics are proved to be robust in the typically observed range of stratification and average temperature.