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Haile Xue and Marco A. Giorgetta


The diurnally evolving trapped lee wave over a small-scale two-dimensional steep mountain is investigated in large-eddy simulations based on a fully compressible and nonhydrostatic model [Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic (ICON)] with triangular grids of 50-m-edge length. An idealized atmospheric profile derived from a realistic case is designed to account for influences from the stagnant layer near the surface, the stability of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) and the upper-level jet. First, simulations were done to bridge from the linear regime to the nonlinear regime by increasing the mountain height, which showed that larger-amplitude lee waves with longer wavelength can be produced in the nonlinear regime than in the linear regime. Second, the effects of the stagnant layer near the surface and the ABL stability were explored, which showed that the stagnant layer or the stable ABL can play a similar wave-absorbing role in the nonlinear regime as in linear theories or simulations. Third, the role of the upper-level jet was explored, indicating that a stronger (weaker) upper-level jet can help to produce longer (shorter) lee waves. The stable ABL with a stagnant layer can more (less) efficiently absorb the longer (shorter) lee waves due to the stronger (weaker) jet, so that the wave response is more sensitive to the wave-absorption layer when an upper-level jet is present. Finally, the momentum budget was analyzed to explore the interaction between the upper and lower levels of the troposphere, which showed that the momentum flux due to the upward-propagating waves and trapped waves varies with the upper-level jet strength and low-level stagnancy and ABL stability.

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Haile Xue, Jian Li, Tingting Qian, and Hongping Gu


In this study, a gale event that occurred on the lee side of a long narrow mountain was investigated, together with the associated mountain flows, using a realistic-case large-eddy simulation (LES) that is based on the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. The mountain is located on the southeastern Tibetan Plateau, where approximately 58 gales occur annually, mostly in the afternoons during the winter season. Benefitting from realistic topography and high horizontal resolution as fine as 111 m, the LES can replicate features similar to the wind fields observed during the gale period. Investigation of the early morning wind structure over the mountain revealed that weak inflows were blocked, reversed, and divided in the upstream area and that some weak lee waves, rotors, and two clear lee vortices were evident downstream. As the upstream wind accelerated and the boundary layer developed during the daytime, the lee waves became amplified with severe downslope wind and rotors. The interaction and coherent structure of the downslope wind, rotor, and vortices were investigated to show the severe wind distribution. The mountain drags associated with blocking and amplified lee waves are displayed to show the potential impact on the large-scale model. The linear lee-wave theory was adopted to explain the wave evolution during this event together with a discussion of the uncertainty around low-level nonlinear processes.

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