We investigate the properties of an abstract family of advection diffusion equations in the context of the fractional Laplacian. Two independent diffusion parameters enter the system, one via the constitutive law for the drift velocity and one as the prefactor of the fractional Laplacian. We obtain existence and convergence results in certain parameter regimes and limits. We study the long time behaviour of solutions to the general problem and prove the existence of a unique global attractor. We apply the results to two particular active scalar equations arising in geophysical fluid dynamics, namely the surface quasigeostrophic equation and the magnetogeostrophic equation. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH, DE, part of Springer Nature.