Characteristics of Nocturnal Low-Level Jets Observed in the North Florida Area

Anandakumar Karipot Laboratory for Environmental Physics, The University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia

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Monique Y. Leclerc Laboratory for Environmental Physics, The University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia

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Gengsheng Zhang Laboratory for Environmental Physics, The University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia

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Abstract

The seasonal and interannual variability of the nocturnal low-level jets over the north Florida region are investigated using sodar measurements spanning 540 nights. On average, jets are present in 62% of the nocturnal periods examined. The observed jet speeds range between 3 and 21 m s−1 and heights are between 80 and 700 m. Observations show that the low-level jet occurs more frequently (70% of the nocturnal periods) during the colder months November–February in contrast with the warmer months June–August (∼47%). The presence of southerly jets dominates the summer months, whereas northerly jets are more frequent during winter. Colder months frequently exhibit jets with speeds exceeding 14 m s−1, often associated with the passage of frontal systems. The interannual variability observed using the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) wind profile data during a 4-yr period shows only minimal differences in jet characteristics. A comparison of jet heights with NARR planetary boundary layer heights suggests that jets at the north Florida location frequently occur within the planetary boundary layer. The occurrence and speed of observed low-level jets are linked to both the land–ocean temperature contrast and to the strength and orientation of surface pressure gradients over the region. A high occurrence of large-amplitude oscillations with approximately a 24-h period near the jet height is shown using the Hilbert–Huang transform analysis, suggesting that inertial oscillations are one possible cause of jet formation in north Florida.

Corresponding author address: M. Y. Leclerc, Laboratory for Environmental Physics, The University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment St., Griffin, GA 30223. Email: MLeclerc@uga.edu

Abstract

The seasonal and interannual variability of the nocturnal low-level jets over the north Florida region are investigated using sodar measurements spanning 540 nights. On average, jets are present in 62% of the nocturnal periods examined. The observed jet speeds range between 3 and 21 m s−1 and heights are between 80 and 700 m. Observations show that the low-level jet occurs more frequently (70% of the nocturnal periods) during the colder months November–February in contrast with the warmer months June–August (∼47%). The presence of southerly jets dominates the summer months, whereas northerly jets are more frequent during winter. Colder months frequently exhibit jets with speeds exceeding 14 m s−1, often associated with the passage of frontal systems. The interannual variability observed using the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) wind profile data during a 4-yr period shows only minimal differences in jet characteristics. A comparison of jet heights with NARR planetary boundary layer heights suggests that jets at the north Florida location frequently occur within the planetary boundary layer. The occurrence and speed of observed low-level jets are linked to both the land–ocean temperature contrast and to the strength and orientation of surface pressure gradients over the region. A high occurrence of large-amplitude oscillations with approximately a 24-h period near the jet height is shown using the Hilbert–Huang transform analysis, suggesting that inertial oscillations are one possible cause of jet formation in north Florida.

Corresponding author address: M. Y. Leclerc, Laboratory for Environmental Physics, The University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment St., Griffin, GA 30223. Email: MLeclerc@uga.edu

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