ResearchBasic climatic features such as the pole-to-equator surface temperature gradient, the atmospheric thermal stratification, and the distribution of atmospheric water vapor are controlled by atmospheric macroturbulence—turbulence with length scales of order 1000 km that is strongly affected by the planetary rotation. For example, the surface temperature gradient between pole and equator results from an interaction between differential heating of the Earth's surface (the equator is heated more strongly than the poles) and macroturbulent heat transport. My research, based on theoretical considerations, simulations with climate models of various complexity, and analyses of observational data, focuses on the development of theories of atmospheric macroturbulence and its influence on the global-scale climate. Such theories help us understand the changes in the atmospheric climate that occurred over the Earth's history and that are likely to occur in the future. They also help us understand the circulations of other planets, for example, the formation of jets on the giant planets.
Last updated: October 27, 2008 15:13