The standing-wave development to the lee of prominent mountain ridges presents not only an interesting meteorological phenomenon but also a definite hazard to certain aircraft operations.
An analysis of the mountain-wave observations in the Sierras indicates the presence of strong winds normal to the mountain range as well as large vertical wind shears; and an inversion or at least a stable layer near the level of the mountain crest. Changes in the pressure and temperature patterns at both the surface and 500-mb level are shown for two examples of more intense wave developments. Also, mean surface and upper-level pressure and temperature patterns are shown for the strong-wave days. The association between these mean patterns and surface frontal movements, upper-level troughs, strong temperature gradients, and the jet stream are discussed. An example of the effect of wind shear and static stability is shown using equations and methods developed by Scorer.
Data on the occurrence of mountain-wave activity in other mountainous areas of the West are now being collected. Two examples of these results are shown.
* Presented at the New York meeting of the American Meteorological Society, Jan. 1954.