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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
Lim C. C.
The Super- and Sub-Rotation of Barotropic Atmospheres on a Rotating Planet
2022, Vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 19-42
A statistical mechanics canonical spherical energy-enstrophy theory of the superrotation phenomenon in a quasi-2D barotropic fluid coupled by inviscid topographic torque to a rotating solid body is solved in closed form in Fourier space, with inputs on the value of the energy to enstrophy quotient of the fluid, and two planetary parameters — the radius of the planet and its rate and the axis of spin. This allows calculations that predict the following physical consequences: (A) two critical points associated with the condensation of high and low energy (resp.) states in the form of distinct superrotating and subrotating (resp.) solid-body flows, (B) only solid-body flows having wavenumbers $l=1$, $m=0$ — tiltless rotations — are excited in the ordered phases, (C) the asymmetry between the superrotating and subrotating ordered phases where the subrotation phase transition also requires that the planetary spin is sufficiently large, and thus, less commonly observed than the superrotating phase, (D) nonexcitation of spherical modes with wavenumber $l>1$ in barotropic fluids. Comparisons with other canonical, microcanonical and dynamical theories suggest that this theory complements and completes older theories by predicting the above specific outcomes.
Lim C. C.
Phase Transition to Quadrupolar Vortices in a Spherical Model of the Energy-Enstrophy Theory — Exact Solution
2020, Vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 543-555
A new energy-enstrophy model for the equilibrium statistical mechanics of barotropic flow on a sphere is introduced and solved exactly for phase transitions to quadrupolar vortices when the kinetic energy level is high. Unlike the Kraichnan theory, which is a Gaussian model, we substitute a microcanonical enstrophy constraint for the usual canonical one, a step which is based on sound physical principles. This yields a spherical model with zero total circulation, a microcanonical enstrophy constraint and a canonical constraint on energy, with angular momentum fixed to zero. A closed-form solution of this spherical model, obtained by the Kac – Berlin method of steepest descent, provides critical temperatures and amplitudes of the symmetry-breaking quadrupolar vortices. This model and its results differ from previous solvable models for related phenomena in the sense that they are not based on a mean-field assumption.