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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2009, Article ID 105265, 9 pages
Research Article

Comparisons of the Generalized Potential Temperature in Moist Atmosphere with the Equivalent Potential Temperature in Saturated Moist Atmosphere

1Laboratory of Cloud-Precipitation Physics and Severe Storms (LACS), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
2State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
3National Meteorological Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China

Received 13 November 2008; Accepted 3 March 2009

Academic Editor: Shouting Gao

Copyright © 2009 Yushu Zhou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The real tropospheric atmosphere is neither absolutely dry nor completely saturated. It is in general moist but not saturated. Here the generalized potential temperature (GPT) was introduced to describe this humid feature of real moist atmosphere. GPT's conservation property in moist adiabatic process was discussed and proved. Comparisons of GPT in moist atmosphere with the equivalent potential temperature (EPT) in saturated moist atmosphere were made by analyzing three torrential rain cases occurring over Jianghuai Valleys in 2003, the north China in 2004, and with the typhoon Fung-Wong in 2008, respectively. Results showed that the relative humidity is not up to 100% even in torrential rain systems, the saturated condition for EPT is not always held, and thus GPT can describe the moisture concentration and moisture gradient better than EPT. The GPT's definition includes the process that the air changes from dry to moist, then up to saturated. Therefore, potential temperature (PT) and EPT can be considered as its two special status. Similar as PT and EPT, GPT can be used to study atmospheric dynamic and thermodynamic processes more generally because of its conservation property in moist adiabatic process.