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BAROTROPIC AND BAROCLINIC SURFACES


Published on: 12/18/2020 4:16:10 AM

Barotropic surface represents that region where density does not vary along the surface of constant pressure i.e., the surfaces of constant pressure and constant density (and hence temperature) do not intersect rather are Parallel and hence there is no possibility of the formation of fronts, because there is no chance of either convergence or divergence of air.

In a Barotropic environment temperature is homogenous and uniform. warm and humid throughout the year with little fluctuation in temperature. The atmospheric structure is uniform, winds are unidirectional and increasing with height no thermal advections, no fronts such as cold or warm fronts, nor any occluded fronts are present here.

Baroclinic surface is that where surface of constant pressure intersect surfaces of constant density (which is taken to be dependent on temperature). Thus, the baroclinic situation provides ideal conditions for the formation of cyclones and anticyclones. The multi-level baroclinic models are now employed by the modern meteorologists to explain the process of cyclogenesis. Since the baroclinic surface represents intersecting surfaces of constant pressure and constant density and hence this becomes a frontal zone wherein the potential energy of zonal air circulation is converted into kinetic energy to form eddies which are developed into cyclones and anticyclones (horizontal air flow is now changed to eddy or circular flow).

The baroclinic state of the atmosphere representing intersection of constant pressure and density surface and unstable atmospheric conditions, is created due to steep temperature gradient from the equator towards the poles. Whenever upper air divergence becomes active, surface convergence become the consequent result of the former, baroclinicity is intensified because of closer association of warm and cold air masses resulting into the formation of fronts. In such circumstances, the front develops into frontal wave which causes the sequential stages of cyclone development as envisaged in frontal wave theory or polar front theory.

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