Articles | Volume 20, issue 24
Research article
15 Dec 2020
Research article |  | 15 Dec 2020

Reappraising the appropriate calculation of a common meteorological quantity: potential temperature

Manuel Baumgartner, Ralf Weigel, Allan H. Harvey, Felix Plöger, Ulrich Achatz, and Peter Spichtinger

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Cited articles

Ambaum, M. H. P.: Thermal Physics of the Atmosphere, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK,, 2010. a, b, c
Awano, S.: JS-Diagrams for Air, Report of Aeronautical Research Institute, Tokyo Imperial University, 11, available at: (last access: 11 December 2020), 1936. a, b, c
Bauer, L. A.: The relation between “potential temperature” and “entropy”, Phys. Rev., 26, 177–183, 1908. a
Bohren, C., Albrecht, B., and Albrecht, P.: Atmospheric Thermodynamics, Oxford University Press, New York, USA, Oxford, UK, 1998. a
Bolton, D.: The Computation of Equivalent Potential Temperature, Mon. Weather Rev., 108, 1046–1053,<1046:TCOEPT>2.0.CO;2, 1980. a
Short summary
The potential temperature is routinely used in atmospheric science. We review its derivation and suggest a new potential temperature, based on a temperature-dependent parameterization of the dry air's specific heat capacity. Moreover, we compare the new potential temperature to the common one and discuss the differences which become more important at higher altitudes. Finally, we indicate some consequences of using the new potential temperature in typical applications.
Final-revised paper