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Actiniae Cloud Patterns Ernie Agee 27 April 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Actiniae Cloud Patterns Ernie Agee 27 April 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Actiniae Cloud Patterns Ernie Agee 27 April 2005

2 Some Terminology Anemone (Greek) – plants/animals with radial extensions (tentacles, arms, etc.) Sea Anemone – Predatory sea animals that look like flowers. They have tentacles that sting. Anemometer – (definition not needed) Actinia (singular); Actiniae (plural) - …consisting of arms, tentacles, etc. Actinia Clouds – clouds with radial arms

3 Early and Recent Satellite Images of Actiniae Clouds Open and closed cells over the Peru current (10 S, 95 W) at 1813 GMT 15 September 1964. (Agee, 1984) Observed in the eastern North Pacific on 17 June 1997 1500 GMT. (

4 (a) First satellite image of an actinoform cloud from TIROS V (2322 UTC 16 Aug 1963, 17.5 N, 155 W). Cloud is over 300 km in diameter (Picture of the Month in Mon. Wea. Rev. 1965, Vol. 93, p. 212). (b) First Picture of the Month image (Mon. Wea. Rev. 1963, Vol. 91, p. 2). Series of actinoform clouds observed by TIROS V (1500 UTC 7 Oct 1962, 7 S, 87 -97 W). (c) Picture of the Month April 1965 (Mon. Wea. Rev. 1965, Vol. 93, p. 212). Actinoform clouds from TIROS VIII (1713 UTC 18 Jul 1964, 15 S, 100 W). (d) Composite of four photographs by astronaut from space (STS51G-31-10 to -13). Cloud feature extends hundreds of kilometers (1600 UTC 17 Jun 1985, 27 N, 122 – 118 W). (e) Detail of astronaut photograph STS043-96-54 showing actinoform cloud northeast of Canary Islands (0800 UTC 7 Aug 1991, 26 N, 16.5 W)

5 Mesoscale Cellular Convection in Polar Air Stream over the North Atlantic

6 Global Climatology of Mesoscale Cellular Convection (Agee,1984)



9 "It becomes increasingly clear that instabilities and nonlinear behavior, leading to structure formation far from equilibrium, are ubiquitous in large classes of physical systems such as isotropic fluids …Whether one likes it or not, thermal convection cells …do exist and refuse to be exorcised." G. Nicolis (1986), Am. J. Phys. To paraphrase "Convection Cells are Forever"

10 The Author's Principle of Natural Efficiency "The geometry of any R-B convective system in the laboratory (or atmosphere) represents the most efficient mode for the vertical transport of heat, and reflects a natural response to all the physical properties and constraints of the fluid system. The closest existing parallel principle is Le Chatelier's Principle "Any inhomogeneity that somehow develops in a system should induce a process that tends to eradicate the inhomogeneity. For R-B convection, the imposed inhomogeneity is a vertical thermal stress, and the fluid responds with bulk motions in an attempt to reduce the thermal stress by convecting heat.

11 Satellite photograph (NOAA Nimbus 7) showing atmospheric flow with organized parallel streets of cumulus clouds sitting atop the planetary boundary layer.

12 Classical and Recent Laboratory and Theoretical Studies of Thermal Convection Geometry 2-d 3-d chains/beads bi-modal cross-modal actinia pan-am spiral defect non-defect spiral bi-harmonic spoke-pattern oscillatory herring-bone 6-arm hexagons 12-arm hexagons skewed varicose knot zig-zag spiral rotors vortices at vertices turbulent slime mold (etc.) Conditions/Properties at rest motion lateral boundaries infinite boundaries constant physical properties variable physical properties motion (no shear) motion (with shear) rotation no rotation Hadley mode no Hadley mode sub-critical Re super-critical Re weak super Rac moderate super Rac large super Rac (etc.)

13 The familiar patterns of a self-propagating reaction appear when individual cells of slime mold aggregate, at one stage of their life cycle, to form larger communities of cooperating cells. (From Newell and Ross 1982.)

14 Rayleigh Number (R a ) versus Prandtl Number (Pr) in Laboratory Experiments

15 Vertical Velocity Asymmetry in -plane (Krishnamurti, 1975)

16 Atmospheric Analog of Ra-Pr Stability Diagram

17 Laboratory hexagonal cells showing six lines (left) at R R c and twelve lines (right) of symmetry at R 10R c.

18 Convective Structures in CH 4 O (Busse, UCLA – personal communication)

19 A top view of seven rotating hexagonal cells.

20 Univ. of Wisconsin SSEC Movie

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