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Orographic drag associated with lee waves trapped at an inversion

Teixeira, M. A. C. ORCID:, Argaín, J. L. and Miranda, P. M. A. (2013) Orographic drag associated with lee waves trapped at an inversion. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 70 (9). 2930- 2947. ISSN 1520-0469

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JAS-D-12-0350.1


The drag produced by 2D orographic gravity waves trapped at a temperature inversion and waves propagating in the stably stratified layer existing above are explicitly calculated using linear theory, for a two-layer atmosphere with neutral static stability near the surface, mimicking a well-mixed boundary layer. For realistic values of the flow parameters, trapped lee wave drag, which is given by a closed analytical expression, is comparable to propagating wave drag, especially in moderately to strongly non-hydrostatic conditions. In resonant flow, both drag components substantially exceed the single-layer hydrostatic drag estimate used in most parametrization schemes. Both drag components are optimally amplified for a relatively low-level inversion and Froude numbers Fr ≈ 1. While propagating wave drag is maximized for approximately hydrostatic flow, trapped lee wave drag is maximized for l_2 a = O(1) (where l_2 is the Scorer parameter in the stable layer and a is the mountain width). This roughly happens when the horizontal scale of trapped lee waves matches that of the mountain slope. The drag behavior as a function of Fr for l_2 H = 0.5 (where H is the inversion height) and different values of l2a shows good agreement with numerical simulations. Regions of parameter space with high trapped lee wave drag correlate reasonably well with those where lee wave rotors were found to occur in previous nonlinear numerical simulations including frictional effects. This suggests that trapped lee wave drag, besides giving a relevant contribution to low-level drag exerted on the atmosphere, may also be useful to diagnose lee rotor formation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:32960
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mountain waves, Stationary waves, Inversions, Mixed layer, Nonhydrostatic models, Subgrid-scale processes
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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