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A. J. Brazel, H. J. S. Fernando, J. C. R. Hunt, N. Selover, B. C. Hedquist, and E. Pardyjak

Abstract

Past research has suggested that the evening transition in complex topography typically has several main features, such as (a) continued weak upslope flows persisting 3–5 h after sunset (if the sidewalls of the valley prevent Coriolis-induced turning of winds), thus signifying delayed transition; (b) unsteady local stagnation and vertical mixing within tens of meters above the surface; and (c) transition of stagnation fronts to downslope/downvalley gravity currents during the evening hours, especially at higher-elevation (steeper) slopes, and their arrival at adjoining low-elevation gentle slopes as “slope breezes.” This transition process typically occurs in locales such as Phoenix, Arizona, which has expansive exposure to plains in one direction (to the west and south) and is adjacent to abrupt change in the terrain in other directions (primarily to the north and east). An analysis of wind records from several automated weather stations and a radar wind profiler for selected characteristic periods representing all four seasons and data from a previous major field campaign in the greater Phoenix valley illustrate (i) the shallow nature of transition flows that develop on a year-round basis during frequent clear, calm nights in the desert Southwest and their seasonal sensitivity; (ii) a spatial variation of transition times relative to the only first-order National Weather Service station in the region (Sky Harbor International Airport); (iii) the dependence of transition time (and hence the delay of transition) on the exposure, the elevation, and the magnitude of slope; and (iv) a possible heat-island influence. These observations are quantified using theoretical estimates, and the results are placed in the context of multiscale flows in urban basins.

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P. G. Dixon, D. M. Brommer, B. C. Hedquist, A. J. Kalkstein, G. B. Goodrich, J. C. Walter, C. C. Dickerson IV, S. J. Penny, and R. S. Cerveny

Studies, public reports, news reports, and Web sites cite a wide range of values associated with deaths resulting from excessive heat and excessive cold. For example, in the United States, the National Climatic Data Center's Storm Data statistics of temperature-related deaths are skewed heavily toward heat-related deaths, while the National Center for Health Statistics Compressed Mortality Database indicates the reverse—4 times more people die of “excessive cold” conditions in a given year than of “excessive heat.” In this study, we address the fundamental differences in the various temperature-related mortality databases, assess their benefits and limitations, and offer suggestions as to their use. These datasets suffer from potential incompleteness of source information, long compilation times, limited quality control, and the subjective determination of a direct versus indirect cause of death. In general, these separate mortality datasets should not be combined or compared, particularly with regard to policy determination. The use of gross mortality numbers appears to be one of the best means of determining temperature-related mortality, but those data must be detrended into order to remove a persistent winter-dominant death maximum and are difficult to obtain on a regional daily basis.

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