Topological entropy is shown to be a useful characteristic of the state of the free atmosphere. It can be determined as the stretching rate of a line segment of tracer particles in the atmosphere over a time span of about 10 days. Besides case studies, the seasonal distribution of the average topological entropy is determined in several geographical locations. The largest topological entropies appear in the mid- and high latitudes, especially in winter, owing to the greater temperature gradient between the pole and the equator and the more intense stirring and shearing effects of cyclones. The smallest values can be found in the trade wind belt. The local value of the topological entropy is a measure of the chaoticity of the state of the atmosphere and of how rapidly pollutants and contaminants spread from a given location.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science