The Structure of Mean Circulations

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James, R. W. (2011)

A discussion of the best mode of expressing the facts of the mean westerly flow in temperate latitudes parametrically leads to the result that over North America the shape of the vertical geostrophic westerly wind profile is nearly invariant with respect to time and place. The vertical wind profile can be expressed in terms either of the change pressure-gradient with height, or of contour-height gradient with pressure-level. In either case the profile shape is characteristic, and varies little with season, longitude or latitude over North America. The intensity of the mean circulation varies rythmically with season, but that for any one month may vary markedly from year to year. The profile shape for an oceanic region differs from that of a land region such as eastern North America in exibiting a lower ratio of high-level to surface wind, and in being much more variable from month to month. It is shown that the pressure-difference at 7 km between two latitudes, or the difference in mean height of the 200 mb surface gives a measure of the total geostrophic momentum between those latitudes. The square of these quantities also gives a measure of the total kinetic energy of the westerlies between these two latitudes.DOI: 10.1111/j.2153-3490.1951.tb00808.x
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