Water Vapour Vortices

60 Minutes

Ab Maas
Frans Debie
Jos Diepeveen
Vesa Nietosvaara
Aulikki Lehkonen

Water Vapour Vortices

Published: 01 January 2005

WV Vortices in the northern hemisphere are cyclonically rotating and therefore associated with a trough or low in the upper levels of the troposphere. This can also be seen in PV fields, which show high values near the centre of the vortex. High values of PV are related to low tropopause height, which explain the Dark Stripe in the WV image. The Dark Stripe implies that relatively dry stratospheric air is penetrating down into the higher levels of the troposphere. Within the Dark Stripe, a local maximum of PV can often be seen. Because of the local maximum, the cyclonic circulation is enhanced. Therefore, the Dark Stripe is being deformed and the moister air spirals around the dryer air. This process either leads to the formation of a WV structures. Investigation of about 100 cases over a period of two years shows that a distinction can be made between different WV structures. The two prevailing structures are the so-called WV Eddies and WV Eyes.

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Filed under Keywords:

Conceptual Models, Synoptic Scale Meteorology, Water Vapour