Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 153–157

Polytropic atmospheres and the scaling of potential vorticity

  • R. Müller
  • G. Günther

DOI: 10.1007/s00703-004-0087-6

Cite this article as:
Müller, R. & Günther, G. Meteorol. Atmos. Phys. (2005) 90: 153. doi:10.1007/s00703-004-0087-6


Potential vorticity P is in widespread use as a diagnostic in atmospheric dynamics. Here, we employ the concepts of polytropic change of state and polytropic temperature for investigating the problem of scaling potential vorticity. For many applications, it has proven useful to scale P with a dimensionless scale factor to remove its exponential increase with altitude. This scale factor may be derived from the assumption of a polytropic reference atmosphere which includes the classical scaling using isothermal reference atmospheres as a special case.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Müller
    • 1
  • G. Günther
    • 1
  1. 1.ICG I, Research Centre JülichJülichGermany