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Published June 2019 | Submitted + Accepted Version + Published
Journal Article Open

Axisymmetric Constraints on Cross-Equatorial Hadley Cell Extent


We consider the relevance of known constraints from each of Hide's theorem, the angular momentum conserving (AMC) model, and the equal-area model on the extent of cross-equatorial Hadley cells. These theories respectively posit that a Hadley circulation must span: all latitudes where the radiative convective equilibrium (RCE) absolute angular momentum (M_(rce)) satisfies M_(rce) > Ωa^2 or M_(rce) < 0 or where the RCE absolute vorticity (η_(rce)) satisfies f_(ηrce) < 0; all latitudes where the RCE zonal wind exceeds the AMC zonal wind; and over a range such that depth-averaged potential temperature is continuous and that energy is conserved. The AMC model requires knowledge of the ascent latitude φa, which need not equal the RCE forcing maximum latitude φm. Whatever the value of φa, we demonstrate that an AMC cell must extend at least as far into the winter hemisphere as the summer hemisphere. The equal-area model predicts φa, always placing it poleward of φm. As φm is moved poleward (at a given thermal Rossby number), the equal-area predicted Hadley circulation becomes implausibly large, while both φm and φa become increasingly displaced poleward of the minimal cell extent based on Hide's theorem (i.e. of supercritical forcing). In an idealized dry general circulation model, cross-equatorial Hadley cells are generated, some spanning nearly pole-to-pole. All homogenize angular momentum imperfectly, are roughly symmetric in extent about the equator, and appear in extent controlled by the span of supercritical forcing.

Additional Information

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. Manuscript received 11 October 2018, in final form 26 February 2019. We thank Sean Faulk and Alex Gonzalez for discussions that informed this work, Martin Singh for useful comments on an earlier draft, and Ori Adam and Kerry Emanuel for insightful reviews. In particular, Dr. Emanuel suggested adapting the critical Richardson number idea from tropical cyclones to Hadley cells. S.A.H. was supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Award 1624740. S.B. was supported by NSF Award AGS-1462544.

Attached Files

Published - jas-d-18-0306.1.pdf

Accepted Version - 1810.11105.pdf

Submitted - 1810.11105v1.pdf


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August 22, 2023
October 19, 2023