AbstractUnderstanding the development of the atmospheric energy spectrum across scales is necessary to elucidate atmospheric predictability. In this manuscript, the authors investigate energy transfer between the synoptic scale and the mesoscale using direct numerical simulations (DNSs) of two-dimensional (2D) turbulence transfer under forcing applied at different scales. First, DNS results forced by a single kinetic energy source at large scales show that the energy spectra slopes of the direct enstrophy cascade are steeper than the theoretically predicted −3 slope. Second, the presence of two inertial ranges in 2D turbulence at intermediate scales is investigated by introducing a second energy source in the meso-α-scale range. The energy spectra for the DNS with two kinetic energy sources exhibit flatter slopes that are closer to −3, consistent with the observed kinetic energy spectra of horizontal winds in the atmosphere at synoptic scales. Further, the results are independent of model resolution and scale separation between the two energy sources, with a robust transition region between the lower synoptic and the upper meso-α scales in agreement with classical observations in the upper troposphere. These results suggest the existence of a mesoscale feedback on synoptic-scale predictability that emerges from the concurrence of the direct (downscale) enstrophy transfer in the synoptic scales and the inverse (upscale) kinetic energy transfer from the mesoscale to the synoptic scale in the troposphere.
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences – American Meteorological Society
Published: Apr 26, 2018
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