G.W. Kent Moore

Associate Professor

Department of Physics
University of Toronto
60 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario

Tel: (416) 978-4686
Fax: (416) 978-8905
E-mail: gwk.moore@utoronto.ca

Atmospheric Physics (Theoretical)

Geophysical fluid dynamics; baroclinic instability; mesoscale meteorology.

Research Papers Post-Docs Students Courses

B. Sc., Guelph (1979); Ph.D. Princeton (1984). NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto (1984-85).

To most people, our weather appears to be a random and chaotic phenomenon. Although there are obvious diurnal and seasonal cycles, our day-to-day weather continues to be perceived as being quite unpredictable. However, a careful investigation of weather charts and satellite photographs shows that there are in fact well defined and coherent systems that are responsible for much of our weather. The existence of a coherent system embedded in an otherwise chaotic fluid is indicative of the existence of a dynamical instability in the fluid. The instability is responsible for a bifurcation in which the fluid changes from dynamical regime to another. My research is centered upon identifying and understanding the dynamical processes responsible for these bifurcations.

One of the most important of these systems is the frontal cyclone (see Figure). Although they were first identified in the middle of the nineteenth century, it has only been recently that my research has led to the identification of the dynamical process responsible for their development. Research is continuing into this important new bifurcation which we have called the cyclone- scale mode of baroclinic instability. The preferred region for the development of this new instability are the regions of enhanced thermal gradients known as frontal zones. These zones are the result of large-scale atmospheric circulation that acts to concentrate the initially uniform equator-to- pole temperature contrast into a narrow zone. The cyclones that develop via this mechanism draw on the potential energy stored within the front.

Frontal zones are interesting in their own right and I am currently investigating the ways by which they are modified by interactions with topography or with regions in which there is a large surface heat flux. I am also investigating the mechanisms by which gravity waves may be excited by the passage of frontal zones.

  • Marco de La Cruz
  • Sudharshan Sathiyamoorthy
  • Vladimir Smirnov

  • Ian Renfrew
  • Mariusz Pagowski

    Research Papers Post-Docs Students Courses

    This site is maintained by G.W. Kent Moore.
    Last updated May 9, 1997.