Impacts of convective lifetime on moist geostrophic adjustment

Juliana Dias, Olivier Pauluis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a theoretical study of the effects of moist convection on geostrophic adjustment in an infinite channel. The governing equations correspond to a linearized shallow water system of equations for the atmosphere first vertical baroclinic mode, which is coupled to a vertically averaged moisture equation. The coupling is through a parameterization that represents precipitation. The transient behavior and final state of the flow initially at rest with active precipitation limited to half of the channel is investigated, both numerically and analytically. It is shown that an initial imbalance resulting from precipitation induces a circulation that dries out the nonprecipitating region and further enhances precipitation. This interaction between precipitation and dynamics leads to a sharper temperature gradient and stronger jet in the final state, when compared to the dry adjustment. Unlike in the dry case, the moist geostrophic adjustment cannot be entirely determined from the initial unbalanced flow, since it depends on the time scale for convection. Analytic approximations are derived in limits of both fast and slow convective adjustment time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2960-2971
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Convection
  • Moisture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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