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Impact of non-hydrostatic effects and trapped lee waves on mountain wave drag in directionally sheared flow

Yu, C. L. and Teixeira, M. A. C. (2015) Impact of non-hydrostatic effects and trapped lee waves on mountain wave drag in directionally sheared flow. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 141 (690). pp. 1572-1585. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.2459

Abstract/Summary

The orographic gravity wave drag produced in flow over an axisymmetric mountain when both vertical wind shear and non-hydrostatic effects are important was calculated using a semi-analytical two-layer linear model, including unidirectional or directional constant wind shear in a layer near the surface, above which the wind is constant. The drag behaviour is determined by partial wave reflection at the shear discontinuity, wave absorption at critical levels (both of which exist in hydrostatic flow), and total wave reflection at levels where the waves become evanescent (an intrinsically non-hydrostatic effect), which produces resonant trapped lee wave modes. As a result of constructive or destructive wave interference, the drag oscillates with the thickness of the constant-shear layer and the Richardson number within it (Ri), generally decreasing at low Ri and when the flow is strongly non-hydrostatic. Critical level absorption, which increases with the angle spanned by the wind velocity in the constant-shear layer, shields the surface from reflected waves, keeping the drag closer to its hydrostatic limit. While, for the parameter range considered here, the drag seldom exceeds this limit, a substantial drag fraction may be produced by trapped lee waves, particularly when the flow is strongly non-hydrostatic, the lower layer is thick and Ri is relatively high. In directionally sheared flows with Ri = O(1), the drag may be misaligned with the surface wind in a direction opposite to the shear, a behaviour which is totally due to non-trapped waves. The trapped lee wave drag, whose reaction force on the atmosphere is felt at low levels, may therefore have a distinctly different direction from the drag associated with vertically propagating waves, which acts on the atmosphere at higher levels.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:37629
Uncontrolled Keywords:flow over orography;gravity wave drag;non-hydrostatic effects;trapped lee waves;directional wind shear;critical levels;wave reflection;resonance
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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