Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 475–497, 2010
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 475–497, 2010

  20 Jan 2010

20 Jan 2010

Advective mixing in a nondivergent barotropic hurricane model

B. Rutherford1, G. Dangelmayr1, J. Persing1, W. H. Schubert2, and M. T. Montgomery3 B. Rutherford et al.
  • 1Department of Mathematics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1874, USA
  • 2Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1371, USA
  • 3Department of Meteorology, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943-5114, USA

Abstract. This paper studies Lagrangian mixing in a two-dimensional barotropic model for hurricane-like vortices. Since such flows show high shearing in the radial direction, particle separation across shear-lines is diagnosed through a Lagrangian field, referred to as R-field, that measures trajectory separation orthogonal to the Lagrangian velocity. The shear-lines are identified with the level-contours of another Lagrangian field, referred to as S-field, that measures the average shear-strength along a trajectory. Other fields used for model diagnostics are the Lagrangian field of finite-time Lyapunov exponents (FTLE-field), the Eulerian Q-field, and the angular velocity field. Because of the high shearing, the FTLE-field is not a suitable indicator for advective mixing, and in particular does not exhibit ridges marking the location of finite-time stable and unstable manifolds. The FTLE-field is similar in structure to the radial derivative of the angular velocity. In contrast, persisting ridges and valleys can be clearly recognized in the R-field, and their propagation speed indicates that transport across shear-lines is caused by Rossby waves. A radial mixing rate derived from the R-field gives a time-dependent measure of flux across the shear-lines. On the other hand, a measured mixing rate across the shear-lines, which counts trajectory crossings, confirms the results from the R-field mixing rate, and shows high mixing in the eyewall region after the formation of a polygonal eyewall, which continues until the vortex breaks down. The location of the R-field ridges elucidates the role of radial mixing for the interaction and breakdown of the mesovortices shown by the model.

Final-revised paper