I will post each week about what I’ve learned in class thus far, as I have been really looking forward to taking this Tropical Meteorology class.
This week, I learned about the importance of vertical temperature gradient versus horizontal temperature gradient. In the mid-latitudes, horizontal temperature gradients are much more important for forecasting the weather. The horizontal temperature gradient marks the edges of air masses, and thus, defines frontal boundaries and where storms will occur. In tropical meteorology, this is not nearly as important as vertical temperature gradients, meaning that tropical storms fire in the middle of an air mass, rather than at the edge.
Also, at the lower latitudes, Coriolis Force is much lower, and thus the Quasi-Geostrophic (QG) equation no longer applies directly. This means that we use a streamline analysis instead of using isobaric charts, like I do for my weather blog (as New Mexico is in the mid-latitudes).
Furthermore, there is an atmospheric tide that brings warm, cold, damp or dry air around twice a day, just like an oceanic tide. The effects of this atmospheric tide are lost in the boundaries between air masses at the mid-latitudes, but not in the tropics.
This is going to be a great class!
Thank you for reading this post.