courses: ATS 656

Tropical Meteorology & Moist Convective Systems

This course draws together concepts in the dynamics and climatology of the tropical atmosphere, as well as of significant precipitation systems across the Tropics. Specific topic areas include synoptic climatology, the dynamics of tropical flows (e.g., Kelvin waves, near Equatorial flows), convective scale dynamics, island meteorology, tropical cyclones, and the broad forces driving tropical circulations (e.g., ENSO, radiative-convective equilibrium, latent heating distributions, gregarious cloud systems). A review of key low-latitude jets, and oceanic currents, will be provided.

The goal of the class is to provide students in graduate level atmospheric science a background into tropical meteorology, emphasizing aspects of atmospheric convection across the Tropics. Exercises will focus on scales of weather between 30 N and 30 S, dynamical processes, building theoretical foundations, and real data analysis. The course will assume a strong familiarity with atmospheric thermodynamics (ATS 541) and dynamics (ATS 551) so this course's material can grow from these basic concepts.

Course Syllabus:

1. Fundamentals:
    a) What makes the "Tropics" the Tropics?
    b) Heating distributions
    c) The Ocean-Atmosphere connection
    d) Climate versus Weather in the Tropics
2. Tropical Dynamics:
    a) Tropical flow characteristics
    b) Scale analysis
    c) Comparison to Midlatitude systems
    d) Equatorial flows; Kelvin waves, Walker circulations
    e) Large scale flows: El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO); Monsoons; ITCZ; Subtropical Anticyclones;
    f) Ocean dynamics, currents and SSTs in Tropics
3. Synoptic Scale Circulations:
    a) Jet streams
    b) Westerly wind events
    c) Persistent convergent zones
    d) Influences of the land and sea
4. Mesoscale Features:
    a) Easterly waves
    b) Island meteorology
    c) Convective systems and regimes
5. Dynamics of Moist Convection:
    a) Scale analysis
    b) Convective modes
    c) Heat, moisture and momentum transports
    d) Oceanic influences
    e) Convective parameterizations
6. Tropical Cyclones:
    a) TC Climatology
    b) TC development and maintenance
vc) Effects on tropical environment
7. Large Scale Constraints:
    a) Radiative-Convective equilibrium
    b) WISHE
    c) Ocean currents and mountain ranges

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