12.811 | Spring 2011 | Graduate

Tropical Meteorology

Lecture Notes

The lecture notes below represent the content taught in the Fall 2011 version of this class and are organized by chapters. Content from previous versions of this class are also included for further study (denoted by an asterisk).

Some images were made available from other sources and were used with permission.

1. Radiative-Convective Equilibrium

1.1. General Principles of Radiative Transfer (PDF - 2.5MB)
1.2. Simple Models without Phase Change (PDF - 2.5MB) (PDF)
1.3. General Principles of Moist Convection (PDF) (PDF - 1.0MB) (PDF - 1.4MB)
1.4. Simple Models with Phase Change (PDF) (PDF)
1.5. Quantitative Assessments of the Equilibrium State - Comparisons to Observations <not available>

2. The Zonally-Averaged Circulation

2.1. The Observed Climatology (PDF - 7.3MB)
2.2. Breakdown of the Radiative-Convective Equilibrium State (PDF - 1.0MB) (PDF - 1.8MB)
2.3. Dry Theory (PDF - 1.0MB) (PDF - 1.8MB)
2.4. Moist Theory (PDF - 1.8MB) (PDF)
2.5. Regulation of Intensity (PDF - 1.8MB) (PDF)

3. Asymmetric Steady Circulations

3.1. Monsoons (PDF - 2.1MB) (PDF - 4.5MB)
3.1.1. Development and Onset of the Asian Monsoon (PDF- 2.1MB)
3.1.2. Monsoon Breaks <not available> 
3.1.3. Nonlinear, Asymmetric Theory (PDF - 4.5MB)
3.2. The Walker Circulation (PDF - 1.2MB)
3.2.1. Observations (PDF - 1.2MB)
3.2.2. Theory (PDF - 1.2MB)

4. Interannual Fluctuations of the Walker Circulation – ENSO (PDF)*

5. Intraseasonal Oscillations

5.1. Observations (PDF - 9.3MB)
5.2. GCM Simulations (PDF - 9.3MB)
5.3. Theory of Equatorial Waves (PDF - 1.3MB)
5.4. WISHE (PDF - 1.3MB)
5.5. Cloud-Radiation Interactions and ISOs (PDF - 1.3MB)

6. Higher Frequency Disturbances

6.1. Monsoon Depressions <not available>
6.2. Equatorial Waves (PDF - 9.4MB)
6.3. Easterly Waves (PDF - 1.1MB) (PDF - 1.1MB)

7. Tropical Cyclones

7.1. Structure and Climatology (PDF - 1.8MB)*
7.2. Steady-State Physics (PDF - 1.2MB) (PDF - 1.5MB)
7.3. Inner Core Dynamics (PDF)
7.4. Time-dependent, Axisymmetric Model Phrased in R Space (PDF - 1.3MB)
7.5. Motion (PDF)
7.6. Ocean Interaction (PDF - 3.2MB)
7.7. Effects of Environmental Wind Shear (PDF - 3.2MB)
7.6. Genesis (PDF - 3.2MB)

Images from journals published by the American Meteorological Society are copyright © AMS and used with permission.

Images from a chapter entitled “Quasi-equilibrium thinking” (author is Kerry Emanuel) that appear in the book entitled “General circulation model development: past, present and future” (Edited by D. Randall) are copyrighted © Academic Press, NY, 1999 and used with permission.

Images from the book entitled “Divine wind: the history and science of hurricanes” (author is Kerry Emanuel) are copyrighted © Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005 and used with permission.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2011