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Atmosphere 2017, 8(2), 39; doi:10.3390/atmos8020039

Profiling Radar Observations and Numerical Simulations of a Downslope Wind Storm and Rotor on the Lee of the Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming

Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA
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Academic Editor: Vanda Grubišić
Received: 24 October 2016 / Revised: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Gravity Waves)
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Abstract

This study describes a downslope wind storm event observed over the Medicine Bow range (Wyoming, USA) on 11 January 2013. The University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA) made four along-wind passes over a five-hour period over the mountain of interest. These passes were recognized as among the most turbulent ones encountered in many years by crew members. The MacCready turbulence meter aboard the UWKA measured moderate to severe turbulence conditions on each pass in the lee of the mountain range, with eddy dissipation rate values over 0.5 m2/3 s−1. Three rawinsondes were released from an upstream location at different times. This event is simulated using the non-hydrostatic Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model at an inner- domain resolution of 1 km. The model produces a downslope wind storm, notwithstanding some discrepancies between model and rawinsonde data in terms of upstream atmospheric conditions. Airborne Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR) vertical-plane Doppler velocity data from two beams, one pointing to the nadir and one pointing slant forward, are synthesized to obtain a two-dimensional velocity field in the vertical plane below flight level. This synthesis reveals the fine-scale details of an orographic wave breaking event, including strong, persistent downslope acceleration, a strong leeside updraft (up to 10 m·s−1) flanked by counter-rotating vortices, and deep turbulence, extending well above flight level. The analysis of WCR-derived cross-mountain flow in 19 winter storms over the same mountain reveals that cross-mountain flow acceleration and downslope wind formation are difficult to predict from upstream wind and stability profiles. View Full-Text
Keywords: downslope wind storm; hydraulic jump; rotor; turbulence; Wyoming Cloud Radar downslope wind storm; hydraulic jump; rotor; turbulence; Wyoming Cloud Radar
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pokharel, B.; Geerts, B.; Chu, X.; Bergmaier, P. Profiling Radar Observations and Numerical Simulations of a Downslope Wind Storm and Rotor on the Lee of the Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming. Atmosphere 2017, 8, 39.

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