Snow breezes in the boreal forest
Taylor, C. M., Harding, R. J., Pielke, R. A., Vidale, P. L., Walko, R. L. and Pomeroy, J. W. (1998) Snow breezes in the boreal forest. Journal of Geophysical Research, 103 (D18). pp. 23087-23101. ISSN 0148-0227
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/98JD02004
This study examines thermally induced flows (or “snow breezes”) associated with snow cover in the boreal forests of Canada. Observations from a lake less than 4 km across were made as part of the Boreal Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study (BOREAS) winter field campaign. These are interpreted with the aid of idealized three-dimensional mesoscale model simulations representing the forest-lake contrast. Typically, strong forest-lake temperature contrasts develop in the lowest 50 m of the atmosphere during the morning. The resulting pressure gradients induce low-level onshore wind components across the lake. This snow breeze persists into the afternoon provided that large-scale winds remain light. A characteristic snow breeze signature is clearly evident in wind observations averaged over 27 days of data, in agreement with model simulations. The study suggests that snow breezes will regularly develop over the many larger lakes and other unvegetated areas in the region.