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Eclipse-induced wind changes over the British Isles on the 20 March 2015

Gray, S. L. and Harrison, R. G. (2016) Eclipse-induced wind changes over the British Isles on the 20 March 2015. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 374 (2077). 20150224. ISSN 1364-503X (themed issue: Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2015.0224

Abstract/Summary

The British Isles benefits from dense meteorological observation networks, enabling insights into the still-unresolved effects of solar eclipse events on the near-surface wind field. The near-surface effects of the solar eclipse of 20 March 2015 are derived through comparison of output from the Met Office's operational weather forecast model (which is ignorant of the eclipse) with data from two meteorological networks: the Met Office's land surface station (MIDAS) network and a roadside measurement network operated by Vaisala. Synoptic-evolution relative calculations reveal the cooling and increase in relative humidity almost universally attributed to eclipse events. In addition, a slackening of wind speeds by up to about 2 knots in already weak winds and backing in wind direction of about 20 degrees under clear skies across middle England are attributed to the eclipse event. The slackening of wind speed is consistent with the previously reported boundary layer stabilisation during eclipse events. Wind direction changes have previously been attributed to a large-scale `eclipse-induced cold-cored cyclone', mountain slope flows, and changes in the strength of sea breezes. A new explanation is proposed here by analogy with nocturnal wind changes at sunset and shown to predict direction changes consistent with those observed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:65788
Additional Information:Theme issue ‘Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse’ compiled and edited by R. Giles Harrison and Edward Hanna
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing

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