Mesoscale Lake-effect Snowstorms in the Vicinity of Lake Michigan: Linear Theory and Numerical Simulations

View More View Less
  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307
© Get Permissions Rent on DeepDyve
Restricted access

Abstract

Mesoscale lake-effect snowstorms in the vicinity of Lake Michigan are studied by a linear steady-state analytic model and a nonlinear time-dependent numerical model with parameterized subgrid-scale physics. The solutions of the linear model show that the orientation of the mean wind field to the surface heating pattern is crucial to the shapes of the disturbances. The results indicate that the relative warmth of the lake surface can induce three updraft centers under a westerly wind, two updraft centers/bands under a northwesterly wind, and a convergence band under a northerly wind. Such convergences are caused by the interaction between the mean wind and the local circulations forced by the curved thermal contrasts. The numerical results from the nonlinear model not only produce convergence patterns very similar to these found in the linear theory and in other numerical studies, but also capture the transient property in some of the lake-induced disturbances. All of these results are qualitatively confirmed by satellite images.

Abstract

Mesoscale lake-effect snowstorms in the vicinity of Lake Michigan are studied by a linear steady-state analytic model and a nonlinear time-dependent numerical model with parameterized subgrid-scale physics. The solutions of the linear model show that the orientation of the mean wind field to the surface heating pattern is crucial to the shapes of the disturbances. The results indicate that the relative warmth of the lake surface can induce three updraft centers under a westerly wind, two updraft centers/bands under a northwesterly wind, and a convergence band under a northerly wind. Such convergences are caused by the interaction between the mean wind and the local circulations forced by the curved thermal contrasts. The numerical results from the nonlinear model not only produce convergence patterns very similar to these found in the linear theory and in other numerical studies, but also capture the transient property in some of the lake-induced disturbances. All of these results are qualitatively confirmed by satellite images.

Save