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Barrier Winds Along the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Thomas R. ParishDepartment of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie 82071

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Abstract

Observational evidence from instrumented aircraft, Doppler radar and rawinsondes suggest low-level, mountain-parallel jets are a common wintertime feature along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Range and extending into the California Valley. It is proposed that the formation and maintenance of the low-level jet is a result of the pressure field created by the damming of stable air as it is forced up against the steep mountain barrier. Numerical experiments, using a two-dimensional (x, z) primitive equation model incorporating terrain representative of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, are carried out to test this assertion.

Abstract

Observational evidence from instrumented aircraft, Doppler radar and rawinsondes suggest low-level, mountain-parallel jets are a common wintertime feature along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Range and extending into the California Valley. It is proposed that the formation and maintenance of the low-level jet is a result of the pressure field created by the damming of stable air as it is forced up against the steep mountain barrier. Numerical experiments, using a two-dimensional (x, z) primitive equation model incorporating terrain representative of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, are carried out to test this assertion.

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