The term baroclinic descriptive of an an atmosphere or ocean in which surfaces of pressure and density intersect at some level or levels. The state of the real atmosphere and ocean, as opposed to barotropic. In a baroclinically stratified fluid total potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy. The noun form of this phenomenon is termed baroclinity.
Baroclinic flow, in oceanography, is the vertically varying circulation associated with horizontal inhomogeneities in the stratification of the oceans.
The baroclinicity vector is a quantity that can be derived from the vorticity equation and expressed as:
where ρ is the density and p the pressure. This equation indicates a tendency to generate vorticity whenever density surfaces are inclined to pressure surfaces.
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- Physical Oceanography Index