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Course syllabus on the general circulation of the atmosphere at master level (Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse and Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris)



A. Circulation as seen from zonal averages

  1. From the radiation budget to the atmospheric motion
  • Observed radiation budget
  • Observed meridional fluxes of energy and momentum
  • Observations of Hadley and Ferrel cell.
   2.  Tropics and Hadley circulation
  • Introduction / principles
  • Held et Hou (1980)'s model
  • Extensions of Held et Hou (1980)'s model
   3. Mid-latitudes and Ferrel cell

  • Principles. Diagnostic elliptic equation
  • Role of transient and stationary waves. Eddy heat and momentum fluxes.
  • Eliassen-Palm fluxes.
  • Transformed Eulerian circulation

          B. Tridimensional aspects of the circulation

    1. Stationary planetary Rossby waves
  • Observations
  • Spatial scales / group velocity
  • Charney and Eliassen (1949)'s model: barotropic Rossby waves forced by topography
  • Ray tracing theory and refractive index.
  • Barotropic response to localized orographic forcing.
    2. Transient synoptic Rossby waves
  • Obervations of wave packets and storm tracks
  • Hovmoller diagrams
    3. Atmospheric energy budget
  • Equations of the available potential energy and kinetic energy
  • Lorenz (1955) energy cycle
    4. Low-frequency atmospheric variability
  • Observations of teleconnections (NAO, PNA) and weather regimes (blockings)
  • Charney and DeVore (1979)'s conceptual model