A nonlinear oscillator describing storm track variability

, and . Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 140 (685): 2680--2684 (March 2014)


We construct a two‐variable model that describes the interaction between local baroclinicity and eddy heat flux in order to understand aspects of the variance in storm tracks. It is a heuristic model for diabatically forced baroclinic instability close to baroclinic neutrality. The two‐variable model has the structure of a nonlinear oscillator. It exhibits some realistic properties of observed storm track variability, most notably the intermittent nature of eddy activity. This suggests that apparent threshold behaviour can be more accurately and succinctly described by a simple nonlinearity. An analogy is drawn with the triggering of convective events.

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