Observation Data

Here we study the balance of forces typical of atmospheric vortices and severe weather across scale, using the Rossby number as a guide. The activity parallels that taken in our ‘radial inflow’ laboratory experiment.
A detailed description of the activity is in weather_xtremes_atmosphere and weather_xtremes_slides.

Relevant theory and discussion of the balance of forces can be found in the reference materials.

Estimating the Rossby number as a function of scale

Estimate the Rossby number of various vortices in the atmosphere in a manner which is exactly analogous to that used in the laboratory experiments by tracking ‘virtual’particles in the evolving wind patterns using the EsGlobe – see EsGlobe instructions.

Jet stream  – geostrophic balance

Compare distribution of climatology of zonal wind and north-south pressure gradient for zonal averages, using the Esglobe-atmopsheric-climatology.

Hurricane flow – balance of forces

Choose a hurricane and plot the observed  winds and Rossby Number in function of radius  as described  in  the scatterometer-instructions.
Discuss how the hurricane data compare and contrast with the radial inflow experiment.

List of interesting hurricane case studies is available here.


Note that the surface wind tends to be cross isobaric.
Read notes on the effect of friction on the geostrophic flow.
You may use gdplot-surf to plot the surface analyzed wind and pressure.