Abstract

The horizontal momentum balance in the marine atmospheric boundary layer during the Coastal Ocean Dynamics Experiment (CODE) is analyzed, using meteorological data from an array of surface moorings. Previous studies have indicated the presence of orographically generated mesoscale features that are induced by strong southward flow around Point Arena. The present analysis demonstrates that during periods of strong southward flow, the cross-shore momentum equation is dominated by a balance between the ageostrophic acceleration associated with the flow curvature around Point Arena, and the cross-shore pressure gradient, while the along-shore momentum equation is dominated by a balance between vertical stress divergence and alongshore pressure gradient. These balances are consistent with results from a shallow water model of the marine layer. The calculations provide evidence for orographic modification of the horizontal structure of the boundary layer under a broader range of southward flow conditions than had been indicated by previous studies.

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