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Temperature and moist-stability effects on midlatitude orographic precipitation

Kirshbaum, D. J. and Smith, R. B. (2008) Temperature and moist-stability effects on midlatitude orographic precipitation. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 134 (634). pp. 1183-1199. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.274


Idealized, convection-resolving simulations of moist orographic flows are conducted to investigate the influence of temperature and moist stability on the drying ratio (DR), defined as the fraction of the impinging water mass removed as orographic precipitation. In flow past a long ridge, where most of the air rises over the barrier rather than detouring around it, DR decreases as the surface temperature (Ts) increases, even as the orographic cap cloud becomes statically unstable at higher Ts and develops embedded convection. This behaviour is explained by a few physical principles: (1) the Clausius–Clapeyron equation dictates that the normalized condensation rate decreases as the flow gets warmer, (2) the replacement of ice-phase precipitation growth with warm-rain processes decreases the efficiency by which condensate is converted to precipitation, thereby lowering precipitation efficiency, and (3) embedded convection acts more to vertically redistribute moisture than to enhance precipitation. Over an isolated mountain, the effects of (1) and (2) are counteracted by moisture deflection around the barrier, which is stronger in the colder, more stable flows.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:1289
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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