A range of diagnostics from two GCM simulations, one of the present-day climate and one of the last glacial maximum (LGM) is used to gain insight into their different temperature structures and eddy dynamics. There are large local increases in baroclinicity at the LGM, especially in the Atlantic storm track, with large accompanying increases in the low level transient eddy heat flux. However, the differences in the zonal mean are much smaller, and the increases in both baroclinicity and heat flux are confined to low levels. Supplementary experiments with baroclinic wave lifecycles confirm the marked contrast between local and zonal mean behaviour, but do not adequately explain the differences between the zonal mean climates. The total flux of energy across latitude circles in the Northern Hemisphere does not change much during DJF, although its transient component is actually reduced at the LGM (during JJA the transient component is increased). Calculations of total linear eddy diffusivity reveal that changes in the time mean stationary waves are chiefly responsible for the seasonal range of this quantity at the LGM, while they only account for half the seasonal range at the present-day.
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Hall, N.M.J., Doug, B. & Valdes, P.J. Atmospheric equilibrium, instability and energy transport at the last glacial maximum. Climate Dynamics 12, 497–511 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02346821
- Heat Flux
- Stationary Wave
- Last Glacial Maximum
- Glacial Maximum
- Storm Track