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The Role of Stokes Diffusion in Middle-Atmospheric Transport

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Coupling Processes in the Lower and Middle Atmosphere

Part of the book series: NATO ASI Series ((ASIC,volume 387))

Abstract

Although turbulence occurs regularly throughout the middle atmosphere, it’s appearance is sporadic both in time and space. It is certainly not possible to visualize the upper atmosphere as a homogeneous turbulent medium; laminar regions often appear to exist between the turbulent ones. Although localized occurrences of turbulence can be quite intense, this intermittency restricts the capability of small scale turbulence to cause large scale diffusion. In this paper, we discuss an alternative model for large scale atmospheric diffusion, which allows large scale diffusion to proceed even in the presence of very localized turbulence. We propose that large scale diffusion need not be entirely due to small scale turbulent eddies, but that an ensemble of gravity waves may act in a diffusive sense. This is possible because of the accumulated effects of the Stokes’ drifts of an ensemble of gravity waves. We disuse the mechanism by which this occurs, and quantify the level of diffusion which we expect this mechanism to produce.

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© 1993 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Hocking, W.K., Walterscheid, R.L. (1993). The Role of Stokes Diffusion in Middle-Atmospheric Transport. In: Thrane, E.V., Blix, T.A., Fritts, D.C. (eds) Coupling Processes in the Lower and Middle Atmosphere. NATO ASI Series, vol 387. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-1594-0_20

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-1594-0_20

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht

  • Print ISBN: 978-94-010-4694-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-011-1594-0

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive

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