Two trapped lee-wave events dominated by the transverse mode downstream of the island of Oahu in Hawaii—27 January 2010 and 24 January 2003—are simulated using the Weather Research Forecasting (WRF) Model with a horizontal grid size of 1 km in conjunction with the analyses of soundings, weather maps, and satellite images. The common factors for the occurrences of these transverse trapped mountain-wave events are 1) Froude number [Fr = U/(Nh)] > 1, where U is the upstream speed of the cross-barrier flow, N is stability, and h is the mountain height; 2) insufficient convective available potential energy for the air parcel to become positively buoyant after being lifted to the top of the stable trade wind inversion layer; and 3) increasing cross-barrier wind speed with respect to height through the stable inversion layer, satisfying Scorer’s criteria between the inversion layer and the layer aloft. Within the inversion layer, where the Scorer parameter has a maximum, the wave amplitudes are the greatest. The two trapped mountain waves in winter occurred under strong prefrontal stably stratified southwesterly flow. On the other islands in Hawaii, where the mountaintops are below the base of the inversion, transverse trapped lee waves can occur under similar large-scale settings if the mountain height is lower than U/N. The high-spatial-and-temporal-resolution WRF Model successfully simulates the onset, development, and dissipation of these two events. Sensitivity tests for the 27 January 2010 case are performed with reduced relative humidity (RH). With a lower RH and less-significant latent heating, trapped lee waves have smaller amplitudes and shorter wavelengths.
School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Contribution Number 9886.
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