Long-term change of the atmospheric energy cycles and weather disturbances

Won Moo Kim, Yong Sang Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Weather disturbances are the manifestation of mean atmospheric energy cascading into eddies, thus identifying atmospheric energy structure is of fundamental importance to understand the weather variability in a changing climate. The question is whether our observational data can lead to a consistent diagnosis on the energy conversion characteristics. Here we investigate the atmospheric energy cascades by a simple framework of Lorenz energy cycle, and analyze the energy distribution in mean and eddy fields as forms of potential and kinetic energy. It is found that even the widely utilized independent reanalysis datasets, NCEP-DOE AMIP-II Reanalysis (NCEP2) and ERA-Interim (ERA-INT), draw different conclusions on the change of weather variability measured by eddy-related kinetic energy. NCEP2 shows an increased mean-to-eddy energy conversion and enhanced eddy activity due to efficient baroclinic energy cascade, but ERA-INT shows relatively constant energy cascading structure between the 1980s and the 2000s. The source of discrepancy mainly originates from the uncertainties in hydrological variables in the mid-troposphere. Therefore, much efforts should be made to improve mid-tropospheric observations for more reliable diagnosis of the weather disturbances as a consequence of man-made greenhouse effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3605-3617
Number of pages13
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Baroclinic energy conversion
  • Climate change
  • Data discrepancy
  • Energetics
  • Energy cascade
  • Reanalysis data


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