Title: Three Easy Pieces in Moist Atmospheric Dynamics
Talk Abstract: Much of our understanding of mid-latitude dynamics comes from dry models of the atmosphere. Both individual weather systems and the mean state of the mid-latitude atmosphere can be usefully studied while neglecting atmospheric water vapor, which eliminates the complications of phase changes and associated latent heat release. But despite the advantages of this simplification, it is clear that moisture does affect the mid-latitude atmosphere in profound ways. In this talk I will present recent work attempting to incorporate the effects of moisture into our understanding of (1) mid-latitude synoptic weather variability, (2) eddy kinetic energy and (3) mean jet position. At the core of the work is simulations with a hierarchy of idealized atmospheric models that systematically vary between the moist and dry climates. Together, these results help clarify moisture's role in the mid-latitude circulation and also highlight several drawbacks of quasi-geostrophic models for studying moist processes.