Atmospheric convection

With a long list of collaborators, we have applied concepts from self-organized criticality to atmospheric convection. The atmosphere receives a slow constant input of energy from the sun and releases this energy in convective bursts, leading to an overall self-organization to a point where it just becomes convectively unstable. This idea has been known to climatologists since the 1970s as “quasi-equilibrium” and was introduced by Arakawa and Schubert. Our addition is this: the state into which the atmosphere self-organizes has the hallmarks of a non-equilibrium continuous phase transition. Based on this we were able to make certain qualitative predictions about the dependence of rainfall on atmospheric water vapor and about fluctuations in various atmospheric parameters.

 

O. Peters, K. Christensen and D. Neelin
Rainfall and dragon-kings.
Eur. Phys. J. Special Topics 205, 147–158 (2012).
doi:10.1140/epjst/e2012-1567-5

O. Peters, A. Deluca, A. Corral, J. D. Neelin and C. E. Holloway
Universality of rain event size distributions.
J. Stat. Mech. 
P11030 (2010).
arXiv:1010.4201
doi:/10.1088/1742-5468/2010/11/P11030

D. Neelin, O. Peters, J. W.-B. Lin, K. Hales and C. Holloway in “Stochastic Physics and Climate Modeling”, edited by T. Palmer and P. Williams. Cambridge University Press (2010), Chap. 16.
Rethinking Convective Quasi-Equilibrium: Observational Constraints for Stochastic Convective Schemes in Climate Models.

O. Peters and D. Neelin
Atmospheric convection as a continuous phase transitions: further evidence.
Int. J. Mod. Phys. B 23, 28–29, 5453–5465 (2009).
doi: 10.1142/S0217979209063778

O. Peters, D. Neelin and S. Nesbitt
Mesoscale Convective Systems and Critical Clusters.
J. Atmos. Sci. 66, 9, 2913–2924 (2009).
doi: 10.1175/2008JAS2761.1

D. Neelin, O. Peters and K. Hales
The Transition to Strong Convection.
J. Atmos. Sci. 66, 8, 2367–2384 (2009).
doi: 10.1175/2009JAS2962.1

D. Neelin, O. Peters, J. W.-B. Lin, K. Hales and C. Holloway
Rethinking Convective Quasi-Equilibrium: Observational Constraints for Stochastic Convective Schemes in Climate Models.
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 366, 2581–2604 (2008).
doi: 10.1098/rsta.2008.0056

O. Peters and D. Neelin,
Critical Phenomena in Atmospheric Precipitation.
Nature Phys. 2, 393-396 (2006).
doi: 10.1038/Nphys314

O. Peters and K. Christensen,
Rain Viewed as Relaxational Events.
J. Hydrol. 328, 46–55 (2006).
doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2005.11.045

O. Peters and K. Christensen,
Rain: Relaxations in the Sky.
Phys. Rev. E. 66, 036120 (2002).
doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.66.036120

O. Peters, C. Hertlein, and K. Christensen,
A complexity view of rainfall.
Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 018701 (2002).
doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.88.018701

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