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Dale R. Durran

Abstract

Expressions are derived for the local pseudomomentum density in two-dimensional compressible stratified flow and are compared with the expressions for pseudomomentum in two-dimensional Boussinesq and anelastic flow derived by Shepherd and by Scinocca and Shepherd. To facilitate this comparison, algebraically simpler expressions for the anelastic and Boussinesq pseudomomentum are also obtained. When the vertical wind shear in the reference-state flow is constant with height, the Boussinesq pseudomomentum is shown to reduce to a particularly simple form in which the pseudomomentum is proportional to the perturbation vorticity times the fluid-parcel displacement. The extension of these compressible pseudomomentum diagnostics to viscous flow and to three-dimensional flows with zero potential vorticity is also discussed.

An expression is derived for the pseudomomentum flux in stratified compressible flow. This flux is shown to simultaneously satisfy the group-velocity condition for both sound waves and gravity waves in an isothermal atmosphere with a constant basic-state wind speed. Consistent with the earlier results of Andrews and McIntyre, it is shown that for inviscid flow over a topographic barrier, the pseudomomentum flux through the lower boundary is identical to the cross-mountain pressure drag—provided that the flow is steady and that the elevation of the topography returns to its upstream value on the downstream side of the mountain.

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Dale R. Durran

Abstract

No abstract available.

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Dale R. Durran

Abstract

When extreme weather occurs, the question often arises whether the event was produced by climate change. Two types of errors are possible when attempting to answer this question. One type of error is underestimating the role of climate change, thereby failing to properly alert the public and appropriately stimulate efforts at adaptation and mitigation. The second type of error is overestimating the role of climate change, thereby elevating climate anxiety and potentially derailing important public discussions with false alarms. Long before societal concerns about global warming became widespread, meteorologists were addressing essentially the same trade-off when faced with a binary decision of whether to issue a warning for hazardous weather. Here we review forecast–verification statistics such as the probability of detection (POD) and the false alarm ratio (FAR) for hazardous-weather warnings and examine their potential application to extreme-event attribution in connection with climate change. Empirical and theoretical evidence suggests that adjusting tornado-warning thresholds in an attempt to reduce FAR produces even larger reductions in POD. Similar tradeoffs between improving FAR and degrading POD are shown to apply using a rubric for the attribution of extreme high temperatures to climate change. Although there are obviously significant differences between the issuance of hazardous-weather warnings and the attribution of extreme events to global warming, the experiences of the weather forecasting community can provide qualitative guidance for those attempting to set practical thresholds for extreme-event attribution in a changing climate.

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Dale R. Durran

Abstract

The third-order Adams–Bashforth method is compared with the leapfrog scheme. Like the leapfrog scheme, the third-order Adams–Bashforth method is an explicit technique that requires just one function evaluation per time step. Yet the third-order Adams–Bashforth method is not subject to time splitting instability and it is more accurate than the leapfrog scheme. In particular, the O[(Δt)4] amplitude error of the third-order Adams–Bashforth method can be a marked improvement over the O[(Δt)2] amplitude error generated by the Asselin-filtered leapfrog scheme—even when the filter factor is very small. The O[(Δt)4] phase-speed errors associated with third-order Adams–Bashforth time differencing can also be significantly less than the O[(Δt)2] errors produced by the leapfrog method. The third-order Adams–Bashforth method does use more storage than the leapfrog method, but its storage requirements are not particularly burdensome. Several numerical examples are provided illustrating the superiority of third-order Adams–Bashforth time differencing. Other higher-order alternatives to the Adams–Bashforth method are also surveyed. A discussion is presented describing the general relationship between the truncation error of an ordinary differential solver and the amplitude and phase-speed errors that develop when the scheme is used to integrate oscillatory systems.

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Dale R. Durran

Abstract

Numerical simulations are examined in order to determine the local mean flow response to the generation, propagation, and breakdown of two-dimensional mountain waves. Realistic and idealized cases are considered, and in all instances the pressure drag exerted by flow across an O(40 km) wide mountain fails to produced a significant net mean flow deceleration in the O(400 km) region surrounding the mountain. The loss of momentum in the local patches of decelerated flow that appear in regions of wave overturning directly above the mountain is approximately compensated by momentum gained in other nearby patches of accelerated flow. The domain-average mean flow deceleration in the O(400 km) domain is not determined solely by the divergence of the horizontally averaged momentum flux, 〈ρ¯uw′〉, because differences in the upstream and downstream values of ρu2+p provide nontrivial contributions to the total domain-averaged momentum budget. As confirmed by additional simulations in an O(1000 km) wide periodic domain, terrain-induced perturbations in the pressure and horizontal velocity fields are rapidly transmitted hundreds of kilometers away from the mountain and distributed as a small-amplitude signal over a very broad area far away from the mountain. These results suggest that both 〈ρ¯uw′〉 and information about the wave-induced horizontal momentum fluxes need to be parameterized in order to completely define the local subgrid-scale forcing associated with mountain wave propagation and breakdown. The forcing for the globally averaged mean flow deceleration can, nevertheless, be determined solely from the vertical divergence of 〈ρ¯uw′〉.

A simpler description of the local mean flow response to gravity wave propagation and breakdown may be obtained using pseudomomentum diagnostics. When the velocities in the unperturbed cross-mountain flow are positive, the vertical pseudomomentum flux is negative and may be regarded as an upward flux of negative pseudomomentum whose source is the cross-mountain pressure drag. In regions where the waves are steady and not undergoing dissipation the horizontal average of the vertical pseudomomentum flux is constant with height. The sinks for this flux are located in the regions of wave dissipation. Unlike the conventional perturbation momentum, the pseudomomentum perturbations generated by breaking mountain waves are all negative. According to the pseudomomentum viewpoint, the signature of gravity wave drag is a secular increase in the strength of the negative pseudomomentum anomalies generated by wave dissipation. In contrast to the behavior of the perturbation momentum, the average rate of pseudomomentum loss in an O(400 km) domain surrounding the mountain is a significant fraction of the total decelerative forcing provided by the cross-mountain pressure drag. Since pseudomomentum is a second-order quantity that decays rapidly upstream and downstream of the mountain, the horizontally averaged pseudomomentum budget can be closed in open domains of reasonable finite size without explicitly accounting for the pseudomomentum fluxes through the lateral boundaries, and thus, the temporal changes in the horizontally averaged pseudomomentum can be determined solely from the divergence of the vertical pseudomomentum flux.

Momentum and pseudomomentum perturbations in trapped mountain lee waves are also investigated. These waves generate nontrivial domain-averaged pseudomomentum perturbations in the low-level flow and should be considered an important potential source of low-level gravity wave drag. These waves are, however, inviscid, and the pseudomomentum perturbations do not grow as a result of dissipation but rather as a result of wave transience through the continued downstream expansion of the wave train.

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Dale R. Durran

Abstract

A simple class of barotropic Rossby waves are shown to propagate westward as the graphically balanced meridional windfield periodically reverses in response to a small meridional pressure gradient arising from the latitudinal variation of the Coriolis parameter.

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Dale R. Durran

Abstract

No Abstract Available

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Dale R. Durran

It is demonstrated that the inertial oscillation is not produced exclusively by “inertial forces,” and that the inertial oscillation appears as oscillatory motion even when viewed from a nonrotating frame of reference. The component of true gravity parallel to the geopotential surfaces plays a central role in forcing the inertial oscillation, and in particular it is the only force driving the oscillation in the nonrotating reference frame.

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Dale R. Durran

Abstract

Numerical simulations are conducted to examine the role played by different amplification mechanisms in the development of large-amplitude mountain waves. It is shown that when the static stability has a two-layer structure, the nonlinear response can differ significantly from the solution to the equivalent linear problem when the parameter Nh/U is as small as 0.3. In the cases where the nonlinear waves are much larger than their linear counterparts, the highest stability is found in the lower layer and the flow resembles a hydraulic jump. Simulations of the 11 January 1972 Boulder windstorm are presented which suggest that the transition to supercritical flow, forced by the presence of a low-level inversion, plays an essential role in triggering the windstorm. The similarities between breaking waves and nonbreaking waves which undergo a transition to supercritical flow are discussed.

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