Vertical Motion - Omega Equation

The main meteorological parameter responsible for the production of cloudiness when there is sufficient humidity is vertical motion:

The vertical motion has a theoretical connection to other meteorological parameters, which individually may be indicative of special cloud areas and configurations. The resulting values of vertical motion expressed as omega are a composite of several processes; this is mathematically described in the omega equation. Satellite meteorology has shown that not only the resulting complete omega field fits to cloud systems but that single contributors are connected with different cloud configurations which are characteristic of the different processes. Therefore even the analysis of these single parameters can be a valuable tool for satellite meteorology.

The equation below is a presentation of the omega equation where the connection between the contributions to vertical motion and the characteristic cloud configurations can be discriminated.

  • Term (1) contains the vertical variation of Vorticity Advection (see Positive Vorticity Advection).
  • Term (2) contains the Laplace operator of Temperature Advection (see Temperature Advection).
  • Term (3) contains the Laplace operator of diabatic heat change. Term (3) will not be addressed further; since it is related to term(1) and (2) forcing's and local convection.