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The role of evaporating showers in the transfer of sting-jet momentum to the surface

Browning, K. A., Smart, D. J., Clark, M. R. and Illingworth, A. J. (2015) The role of evaporating showers in the transfer of sting-jet momentum to the surface. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 141 (693). pp. 2956-2971. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.2581


The most damaging winds in a severe extratropical cyclone often occur just ahead of the evaporating ends of cloud filaments emanating from the so-called cloud head. These winds are associated with low-level jets (LLJs), sometimes occurring just above the boundary layer. The question then arises as to how the high momentum is transferred to the surface. An opportunity to address this question arose when the severe ‘St Jude's Day’ windstorm travelled across southern England on 28 October 2013. We have carried out a mesoanalysis of a network of 1 min resolution automatic weather stations and high-resolution Doppler radar scans from the sensitive S-band Chilbolton Advanced Meteorological Radar (CAMRa), along with satellite and radar network imagery and numerical weather prediction products. We show that, although the damaging winds occurred in a relatively dry region of the cyclone, there was evidence within the LLJ of abundant precipitation residues from shallow convective clouds that were evaporating in a localized region of descent. We find that pockets of high momentum were transported towards the surface by the few remaining actively precipitating convective clouds within the LLJ and also by precipitation-free convection in the boundary layer that was able to entrain evaporatively cooled air from the LLJ. The boundary-layer convection was organized in along-wind rolls separated by 500 to about 3000 m, the spacing varying according to the vertical extent of the convection. The spacing was greatest where the strongest winds penetrated to the surface. A run with a medium-resolution version of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model was able to reproduce the properties of the observed LLJ. It confirmed the LLJ to be a sting jet, which descended over the leading edge of a weaker cold-conveyor-belt jet.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:55941
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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