Potential temperatures

From Glossary of Meteorology
Redirect page

potential temperature

  1. The temperature that an unsaturated parcel of dry air would have if brought adiabatically and reversibly from its initial state to a standard pressure, p0, typically 100 kPa.

    Its mathematical expression is
    where θ is the potential temperature, T is temperature, and κ is the Poisson constant. This exponent is often assumed to be 2/7, the ratio of the gas constant to the specific heat capacity at constant pressure for an ideal diatomic gas.
    See virtual potential temperature, liquid water potential temperature, equivalent potential temperature, wet-bulb potential temperature.

  2. In oceanography, the temperature that a water sample would attain if raised adiabatically to the sea surface.

    For the deepest points of the ocean, which are just over 10 000 m, the adiabatic cooling would be less than 1.5°C.

Copyright 2022 American Meteorological Society (AMS). For permission to reuse any portion of this work, please contact permissions@ametsoc.org. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S. Code § 107) or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S.Copyright Act (17 USC § 108) does not require AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, require written permission or a license from AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement.