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Low-Level Convergence Lines over Northeastern Australia. Part II: Southerly Disturbances

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  • 1 Meteorological Institute, University of Munich, Munich, Germany
  • | 2 Centre for Dynamical Meteorology and Oceanography, Monash University, Clayton, Australia
  • | 3 Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  • | 4 Bureau of Meteorology Training Centre, Melbourne, Australia
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Abstract

Observations of northward-moving borelike convergence lines over the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria region of northern Australia are described. Eleven such disturbances were documented during the 45-day period of the 2002 Gulf Lines Experiment. Of these, six were classified as major and five as minor, depending on their coherence throughout the region. The mean synoptic conditions leading to the two types of events were found to differ. The data for the events provide further insight into the structure and origin of borelike disturbances in the region. Two of the major events, those of 28–29 September and 9 October, are particularly noteworthy. The first of these had a clear double-change structure at all surface stations in the southeastern gulf region with an undular borelike wave preceding and separating from an airmass change in the form of a dryline. It is probably one of the best documented cases of its type. The second, which was documented in unprecedented detail by an instrumented research aircraft, consisted of three separate disturbances: one moving from the southeast, one from the south, and one from the northeast, all of which collided over the gulf. It is believed that the aircraft measurements are the first of their kind anywhere in the world. The aircraft made two long low-level transects through the disturbances and a higher-level transect where they were colliding. Various soundings were also made. The aircraft data showed clearly the undular borelike nature of the southeasterly disturbance. Measured vertical velocities in the waves were as high as 3 m s−1 at a mean altitude of about 230 m. Vertical velocities as high as 5 m s−1 were measured in the region of the collision at an altitude of about 1 km. The longevity of the bores is not explained by the vertical structure of the Scorer parameter, which indicates a leaky waveguide.

Corresponding author address: Prof. Roger K. Smith, Meteorological Institute, University of Munich, Theresienstr. 37, 80333 Munich, Germany. Email: roger@meteo.physik.uni-muenchen.de

Abstract

Observations of northward-moving borelike convergence lines over the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria region of northern Australia are described. Eleven such disturbances were documented during the 45-day period of the 2002 Gulf Lines Experiment. Of these, six were classified as major and five as minor, depending on their coherence throughout the region. The mean synoptic conditions leading to the two types of events were found to differ. The data for the events provide further insight into the structure and origin of borelike disturbances in the region. Two of the major events, those of 28–29 September and 9 October, are particularly noteworthy. The first of these had a clear double-change structure at all surface stations in the southeastern gulf region with an undular borelike wave preceding and separating from an airmass change in the form of a dryline. It is probably one of the best documented cases of its type. The second, which was documented in unprecedented detail by an instrumented research aircraft, consisted of three separate disturbances: one moving from the southeast, one from the south, and one from the northeast, all of which collided over the gulf. It is believed that the aircraft measurements are the first of their kind anywhere in the world. The aircraft made two long low-level transects through the disturbances and a higher-level transect where they were colliding. Various soundings were also made. The aircraft data showed clearly the undular borelike nature of the southeasterly disturbance. Measured vertical velocities in the waves were as high as 3 m s−1 at a mean altitude of about 230 m. Vertical velocities as high as 5 m s−1 were measured in the region of the collision at an altitude of about 1 km. The longevity of the bores is not explained by the vertical structure of the Scorer parameter, which indicates a leaky waveguide.

Corresponding author address: Prof. Roger K. Smith, Meteorological Institute, University of Munich, Theresienstr. 37, 80333 Munich, Germany. Email: roger@meteo.physik.uni-muenchen.de

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