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Terry L. Clark and Robert Gall


Numerical simulations of airflow over two different choices of mountainous terrain and the comparisons of results with aircraft observations are presented. Two wintertime casts for flow over Elk Mountain, Wyoming where surface heating is assumed to be zero and one case for airflow over Mt. Withington, New Mexico where surface heating is strong are considered.

In the Elk Mountain simulations the flow becomes approximately steady state since the upstream conditions are assumed to be constant and the surface heating is assumed to be zero. The response is significantly different in the two cases. In one case (dynamic Elk) strong lee waves formed with a horizontal separation of ∼10 km whereas in the second case (microphysical Elk) mainly weak untrapped waves formed with a vertical wavelength of ∼2.5 km. Because of the presence of the lee waves in the first case it is shown that the ridges south of Elk Mountain affect the flow near Elk Mountain. In the second case where there were no strong lee waves, the ridges to the south had very little effect on the flow near Elk Mountain so Elk acted as an isolated peak. The comparison between the simulation and the observations of the Elk Mountain experiments was good. In particular, the model's prediction of the location and intensity of trapped lee waves in the dynamic Elk case was good.

In the Mt. Withington simulations, the presunrise response was very weak though there were some weak lee waves. After sunrise, strong longitudinal rolls developed in the lower 1 km. These rolls were parallel to the mean wind direction in the lowest first kilometer and had an initial cross roll separation of 4–5 km for a mixed layer depth of 1.5 km. Later in the morning, after additional surface heating, the longitudinal rolls tended to increase their cross roll separation distance and to break up into a more cellular pattern although still retaining a well-defined roll structure. The ratio of cross roll separation to mixed layer depth was within the typically observed ratio of ∼2–3.

The overall comparison between the observations and the simulated flow fields in the Mt. Withington case was reasonable although detailed comparisons between individual features met with mixed success. The low-level observations appeared to represent cellular patterns as opposed to the simulated roll patterns although the horizontal scales perpendicular to the simulated rolls compared favorably. This difference in convective regime between the model and observations may be due in part to the very crude surface layer treatment of the model used to treat the unstable boundary layer as well as due to difficulties in choosing representative low-level winds. In the upper levels the comparison was successful in that the observations corroborate the presence of the trapped lee waves simulated by the model.

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Han-Ru Cho and Terry L. Clark


The structure of vorticity fields of cumulus clouds is studied using a three-dimensional numerical convection model developed by Clark (1977, 1979. 1981). The analysis of the model results suggests that 1) it is justified to neglect the solenoidal effect in cloud vorticity dynamics; and 2) the effects of vertical advection and twisting of vorticity, while both are very important to the local structure, cancel each other when averaged over a cloud horizontal cross-section. Consequently, 3) the cloud vorticity in the mean is controlled mainly by horizontal convergence/divergence of vorticity through cloud boundary and satisfies a very simple conservation equation. Furthermore, the model results also suggest that 4) clouds can induce a very strong horizontal eddy flux of vertical vorticity. The magnitude of this flux is of the order 10−4 m s−2 on the basis of a unit fractional cloud coverage. These results support the hypothesis introduced by Cho and Cheng (1980).

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Terry L. Clark, James R. Scoggins, and Robert E. Cox


The formulation of algebraic functions, involving synoptic-scale atmospheric parameters as variables, capable of predicting clear-air turbulence within 7000 ft sub-layers of the stratosphere was attempted. The data sample used was composed of 153 turbulent and non-turbulent regions identified from 46 stratospheric flights of the XB-70 aircraft over the western United States during the period March 1965 to November 1967, and the values of 69 synoptic-scale parameters determined from rawinsonde data associated with each of the regions. After the XB-10 regions and the values of the synoptic-scale parameters were grouped into one or more of five overlapping categories, or sub-layers, determined by the altitude of the aircraft at the time the turbulence or non-turbulence was reported, discriminant function analysis was employed in each sub-layer to construct functions which could discriminate the turbulent from the non-turbulent regions. Those discriminant functions yielding the best results in each sub-layer were tested from 23 stratospheric flights of the YF-12A aircraft over the same area during the period March 1970 to January 1972. For each sub-layer, five discriminant functions yielding the best results were used to derive a forecasting procedure. This procedure correctly identified approximately 85% of the turbulent and non-turbulent regions in each of the five sub-layers.

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