Horizontal Velocity Structure in Waterspouts

R. L. Schwiesow NOAA/ERL/Wave Propagation Laboratory, Boulder, CO 80303

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Abstract

We have measured the spatial variation of a single horizontal component of the velocity in a number of waterspouts using an airborne infrared Doppler lidar. In 21 data sets, maximum velocities range from 4.2 to 33.6 m s−1 and visible funnel diameters from 6.6 to 90 m. Data were taken at altitudes between 675 m, near cloud base, and 95 m above the surface. The sequences show time development of the velocity as a function of radius at a fixed altitude and the velocity structure at different altitudes and sequential times with a horizontal resolution of ∼0.75 m between data points. The variation in velocity structure between waterspouts is large, with some showing marked azimuthal asymmetry and mixing with the ambient flow, and others showing multiple concentric vortex shells.

Abstract

We have measured the spatial variation of a single horizontal component of the velocity in a number of waterspouts using an airborne infrared Doppler lidar. In 21 data sets, maximum velocities range from 4.2 to 33.6 m s−1 and visible funnel diameters from 6.6 to 90 m. Data were taken at altitudes between 675 m, near cloud base, and 95 m above the surface. The sequences show time development of the velocity as a function of radius at a fixed altitude and the velocity structure at different altitudes and sequential times with a horizontal resolution of ∼0.75 m between data points. The variation in velocity structure between waterspouts is large, with some showing marked azimuthal asymmetry and mixing with the ambient flow, and others showing multiple concentric vortex shells.

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