Repository logo

Simple analytical solutions for potential vorticity intrusions




Masarik, Matthew Thomas, author
Schubert, Wayne H., advisor
Eykholt, Richard E., committee member
Maloney, Eric D., committee member
Randall, David A., committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Using potential temperature (θ) as the vertical coordinate, we derive analytical solutions of the potential vorticity (PV) invertibility principle for the case in which the flow is y-independent and an isolated PV anomaly is confined within an ellipse in the (x, θ)-plane. The solutions aid in understanding the dynamics of low latitude PV intrusions whose associated cloud patterns are often referred to as moisture bursts, or tropical plumes and whose flow patterns are often referred to as tropical upper tropospheric troughs (TUTTs). The solutions illustrate the phenomenon of isentropic upglide below an upper tropospheric positive anomaly in PV. They also quantify how the partitioning of PV between vorticity and static stability depends on the shape and strength of the PV anomaly. The solutions also apply to the problem of determining the balanced flow induced by a surface temperature anomaly, which is equivalent to a very thin layer of infinite PV at the surface. Reanalysis data is consulted as a check on the solutions. Finally, a numerical model is constructed where approximations made in the analytical theory can be examined.


Rights Access


potential vorticity
tropical upper tropospheric troughs
stratospheric intrusions


Associated Publications