A New Perspective

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To help interpret this picture, Fig. This accords well with what is seen here. Many travel less than this, and some travel considerably farther with the one system almost making a full circuit. The amplitudes generally increase as the cyclones move downstream and poleward, with an indication that the stronger systems have larger poleward movement. To provide an extension of this picture that gives a view of the whole winter lower-tropospheric storm track, a similar set of statistics has been generated for most of the genesis regions picked out when discussing Fig.

The results for the track densities and intensities are summarized in the overlapping plate storm-track diagrams shown in Figs. The two genesis regions of South American and the genesis of the Antarctic Peninsula provide cyclones that feed the Atlantic track; the genesis maximum off South Africa feeds the Indian Ocean track; the Indian Ocean genesis feeds the spiral toward Antarctica; the genesis upstream of the Ross Sea feeds the track toward the Antarctic Peninsula. Equatorward of this, the east Australian and New Zealand genesis regions feed the Pacific track, and genesis there feeds systems into the southern South American lysis and genesis region.

The intensity picture shows the expected generality of larger amplitudes downstream and poleward. It also emphasizes the importance of the equatorward generation region over South America and of the genesis regions in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Each of the panels in Fig. However, the whole overlapping plate picture depends on, and is consistent with, the downstream propagation and development of synoptic wave activity in the upper troposphere Simmons and Hoskins ; Berbery and Vera ; Chang ; Rao et al.

To show this relationship, large values of the track density of upper-tropospheric cyclonic features are indicated in grayscale in Fig. The upper-tropospheric link is seen in its spiral from Australia around the hemisphere and back to the coast of Antarctica, with lower-tropospheric development occurring in favorable regions or at the end of the previous life cycle. Given the research done on cyclones near Antarctica, it is of interest to isolate systems that grow or decay there. A summary of the tracks from cyclogenesis and cyclolysis that occur around the Antarctic coast is obtained by using a circular sampling region around Antarctica of radius The track density and mean intensities for these systems are given in Fig.

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Systems that are generated near Antarctica are generally found to remain near it Fig. The region of most tracks stretches from the Australian sector to the Antarctic Peninsula, and there is a weak intensity maximum in the Ross Sea sector.

However, there is a secondary region in both track density and intensity associated with the genesis in the Wedell Sea commented on previously. The lysis Fig. The intensities are generally high but decrease toward the coast. It should be noted however that only long-lasting, mobile systems have been considered here; much more cyclogenesis occurs around the Antarctic coast that is mesoscale and shorter lived and often semistationary.

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In particular, cyclones generated in the embayments often do not become very mobile, though clearly some do, as seen in the Weddell Sea. Since the SH storm track does not only consist of migratory cyclones but also mobile anticyclones, it is also of interest to consider their contribution. Figure 9 summarizes some of this behavior in winter. There is generally a single hPa latitudinal maximum in the density and intensity of anticyclonic vorticity features Fig.

There is enhanced activity south of New Zealand, but there are also similarities with the results for the cyclonic features Fig. There is an anticyclogenesis maximum over southern New Zealand that is present in all seasons, with largest values in the summer and autumn. However, the most striking aspect is perhaps the two maxima in anticyclogenesis over South America that are located in latitudes poleward of the two cyclogenesis regions there Fig. There is also one poleward of the cyclogenesis region over the Antarctic Peninsula.

Intriguingly, the same relative positions of cyclogenesis and anticyclogenesis maxima are found in the lee of the Rockies in the boreal winter.


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The anticyclonic systems originating in the South America regions, whilst being mobile in the context of our admission criteria, in general travel much shorter distances than the cyclones. There is often discussion of cyclogenesis in the lee of topography, but anticyclogenesis associated with topography may be less expected.

A clearer picture of the behavior in the Andes region at a level above the topography is given by the lysis and genesis of anticyclonic Figs. To resolve the spatial relationships, reduced smoothing and higher resolution was used for the construction of these diagnostics. Proceeding from west to east, there is anticyclolysis upstream, followed by cyclolysis on the upslope, anticyclogenesis over the mountains, and cyclogenesis in the lee.

This pattern of events is consistent with the stretching and shrinking of vortex tubes below an isentrope that passes over the topography but which has a broader, shallower shape see, e. An air column approaching from the west first experiences some stretching, which gives a small cyclonic tendency. This is followed by large shrinking and anticyclonic tendency, which lasts until the peak of the topography. Farther east there is large stretching and cyclonic tendency. In this section, some results will be presented for the seasonal variation of cyclonic systems as given by tracking diagnosis.

In comparison with the winter picture, which is repeated in Fig.

In the lower troposphere Fig. Throughout the year, the largest intensities are found in the Indian Ocean. At this level, this maximum is smallest in summer, and in winter it is slightly larger than in the equinoctial seasons. To look at this and other features further, Fig. The Andean genesis maxima also have anticyclogenesis maxima in close proximity not shown similar to the winter, although these now occur to the southwest of the genesis maxima, with the more southerly one being the most intense.

These changes appear to be closely tied to changes in the upper-tropospheric jet over South America as discussed above and the interaction with the flow over the topography and clearly indicate that this region of South America is dynamically complex. As discussed, for example, by Taljaard , the systems move poleward and eastward from here along a region that corresponds to the southwestern flank of the lower-tropospheric subtropical anticyclone and the southern edge of the South Atlantic convergence zone SACZ cloud band.

In the western Indian Ocean, there is a corresponding but weaker feature extending southeastward from Madagascar. The winter genesis in the Pacific storm-track region is not present in summer. The use of ERA data and modern computer variance and tracking techniques has enabled a detailed view of the Southern Hemisphere storm tracks to be attained. According to the technique and variable used, the details change somewhat, but the general picture remains similar. In the summer there is a rather circular high-latitude storm track.

In winter the high-latitude storm track is more asymmetric, with a spiral from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in toward Antarctica, and a subtropical jet—related lower-latitude storm track over the Pacific, again tending to spiral poleward. There the maximum activity is in the summer in the upper troposphere but generally in the winter in the lower troposphere. It is noteworthy that, unlike the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere winter storm track can appear weaker or stronger than that in the summer, depending on the diagnostic used.

This closer similarity between the solsticial seasons is consistent with the small area of continental regions.

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The SST gradients Figs. Finally the summer storm track is a single, deep concentrated high-latitude entity, whereas the winter track has both upper subtropical and deep high-latitude components. Also, in agreement with others, and consistent with the thermal inertia of the largely ocean-covered surface, the Southern Hemisphere equinoctial season storm tracks tend to have similarity with those in the preceding seasons: autumn with summer, and spring with winter.

A detailed study based on feature tracking in winter has yielded a number of interesting results, in some cases giving more support to previous ideas and in other cases new ideas. This has recently been discussed by Nakamura and Shimpo , who have stressed the trapping of wave activity by the strong subtropical jet and the consequent lack of leakage into the polar storm track in the Pacific.

However, the polar track dominates when using geopotential height, for example. These same regions were present in the cyclogenesis results of Simmonds and Keay , their Fig. The poleward two of these regions appear to be mostly associated with the decay of systems upstream of the Andes and the Peninsula and their regeneration downstream of the mountains.

The equatorward genesis region has been shown here to be associated with an upstream region of intense but shallow cyclonic systems on the subtropical jet, and individual low-level genesis events can usually be linked to particular upper-level systems. The low-level jet on the eastern side of the Andes may be important in providing moisture that enhances the development process. There is a strong similarity with the separate northern and southern Rockies genesis regions shown for the Northern Hemisphere in Hoskins and Hodges , their Fig.

In longitude there are sequential regions of anticyclolysis and cyclolysis on the upslope, anticyclogenesis over the mountains, and cyclogenesis on the downslope. These features appear to be consistent with simple vortex-stretching ideas for flow over topography, but further research is required to fully understand the mechanisms behind these distributions.

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This is suggestive of a sequence of cyclones going through their life cycles with the upper-tropospheric storm track giving the genesis in the next region through downstream development and subsequent deep growth in favorable regions. The overlapping plate plus upper-track reconstruction gives a striking picture of the storm-track spiral from Australia to southern South America and then from the three genesis regions across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and around Antarctica in the extreme southern Pacific. The Pacific winter storm track appears here rather more clearly in vorticity tracking than in Eulerian variances and perhaps than in previous discussions.

This is similar to the picture given by Simmonds et al. Figure 8 shows that most of the systems that die near Antarctica have spiraled in from higher latitudes. However, as stressed by Simmonds et al. This region of enhanced genesis does not appear to have been discussed previously. They appear at their most prevalent during the winter season when the SH has its greatest asymmetry in storm-track activity and more storms spiral into the upstream region.

This situation is also apparent at hPa Figs.

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This physical argument is in contrast to the focus on katabatic flows that have been proposed as being important for the short-lived mesocyclones e. Inatsu and Hoskins , partly inspired by the results discussed in this paper, used atmospheric GCM experiments with changed SST or topography to isolate the reasons for the asymmetries of the winter SH storm track.