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Danijel Belušić, Mario Hrastinski, Željko Večenaj, and Branko Grisogono


Winds through the Vratnik Pass, a mountain gap in the Dinaric Alps, Croatia, are polarized along the gap axis that extends in the northeast–southwest direction. Although stronger northeasterly wind at the Vratnik Pass is frequently related to the Adriatic bora wind, especially at the downstream town of Senj, there are many cases in which the wind at Senj is directionally decoupled from the wind at the Vratnik Pass. A cluster analysis reveals that this decoupling is sometimes related to lower wind speeds or a shallow southeasterly sirocco wind along the Adriatic, but in many cases the bora blows over a wider region, while only Senj has a different wind direction. Several mechanisms can be responsible for the latter phenomenon, including the formation of a lee wave rotor. A numerical model simulation corroborates the decoupling caused by a rotor for a single case. The prevalence of northeasterly winds at the Vratnik Pass during southeasterly sirocco episodes is another result that challenges the current understanding. It is shown that, at least in one of these episodes, this phenomenon is related to a secondary mesoscale low pressure center in the eastern lee of the Apennines that forms as a subsystem of a broader Genoa cyclone. Less frequent southwesterly winds through the gap are predominantly related to the thermal sea breeze and anabatic circulations that are sometimes superimposed on the geostrophic wind.

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Željko Večenaj, Stephan F. J. De Wekker, and Vanda Grubišić


A case study of mountain-wave-induced turbulence observed during the Terrain-Induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) in Owens Valley, California, is presented. During this case study, large spatial and temporal variability in aerosol backscatter associated with mountain-wave activity was observed in the valley atmosphere by an aerosol lidar. The corresponding along- and cross-valley turbulence structure was investigated using data collected by three 30-m flux towers equipped with six levels of ultrasonic anemometers. Time series of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) show higher levels of TKE on the sloping western part of the valley when compared with the valley center. The magnitude of the TKE is highly dependent on the averaging time on the western slope, however, indicating that mesoscale transport associated with mountain-wave activity is important here. Analysis of the TKE budget shows that in the central parts of the valley mechanical production of turbulence dominates and is balanced by turbulent dissipation, whereas advective effects appear to play a dominant role over the western slope. In agreement with the aerosol backscatter observations, spatial variability of a turbulent-length-scale parameter suggests the presence of larger turbulent eddies over the western slope than along the valley center. The data and findings from this case study can be used to evaluate the performance of turbulence parameterization schemes in mountainous terrain.

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Georg j. Mayr, David Plavcan, Laurence Armi, Andrew Elvidge, Branko Grisogono, Kristian Horvath, Peter Jackson, Alfred Neururer, Petra Seibert, James W. Steenburgh, Ivana Stiperski, Andrew Sturman, Željko Večenaj, Johannes Vergeiner, Simon Vosper, and Günther Zängl


Strong winds crossing elevated terrain and descending to its lee occur over mountainous areas worldwide. Winds fulfilling these two criteria are called foehn in this paper although different names exist depending on the region, the sign of the temperature change at onset, and the depth of the overflowing layer. These winds affect the local weather and climate and impact society. Classification is difficult because other wind systems might be superimposed on them or share some characteristics. Additionally, no unanimously agreed-upon name, definition, nor indications for such winds exist. The most trusted classifications have been performed by human experts. A classification experiment for different foehn locations in the Alps and different classifier groups addressed hitherto unanswered questions about the uncertainty of these classifications, their reproducibility, and dependence on the level of expertise. One group consisted of mountain meteorology experts, the other two of master’s degree students who had taken mountain meteorology courses, and a further two of objective algorithms. Sixty periods of 48 h were classified for foehn–no foehn conditions at five Alpine foehn locations. The intra-human-classifier detection varies by about 10 percentage points (interquartile range). Experts and students are nearly indistinguishable. The algorithms are in the range of human classifications. One difficult case appeared twice in order to examine the reproducibility of classified foehn duration, which turned out to be 50% or less. The classification dataset can now serve as a test bed for automatic classification algorithms, which—if successful—eliminate the drawbacks of manual classifications: lack of scalability and reproducibility.

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