Based on the heat engine framework, a simple scaling theory for dust devils is proposed and compared to observations. This theory provides a simple physical interpretation for many of the observed characteristics of dust devils. In particular, it predicts the potential intensity and the diurnal variation of dust devil occurrence. It also predicts that the intensity of dust devils depends on the product of two thermodynamic efficiencies, corresponding respectively to vertical and horizontal temperature gradients.
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences – American Meteorological Society
Published: Feb 7, 1997