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Thomas Spengler, Jan H. Schween, Markus Ablinger, Günther Zängl, and Joseph Egger

Abstract

The summertime thermal circulation in the region of an asymmetric valley exit is investigated by means of observations and high-resolution model simulations. The northeastward-oriented Alpine Lech Valley opening into the Bavarian Alpine foreland has an eastern slope exceeding the western slope by about 15 km. Northerly winds along the eastern slope are frequently observed, reaching substantial strength during fair weather conditions. A field experiment has been conducted to explore this phenomenon and to pinpoint the connection of the northeasterly flow to the Lech Valley wind circulation. Numerical simulations have also been carried out to support the interpretation of the observations. It is found that the northerlies owe their existence to the dominantly easterly flow along the foothills of the Alps, which is partly induced by the Alpine heat low but may be strengthened by favorable synoptic conditions. Examples for both situations will be discussed. The diurnal flow in the Lech Valley has little obvious impact on these northeasterlies. On days with moderate synoptic easterly flow, a wake is present on the lee of the eastern slope of the exit region, accompanied by a shear zone along the edge of the wake. This shear zone is forced southward during the daytime because of thermally initiated pressure gradients between the Alpine foreland and the Alps, leading to sudden wind changes in the exit area at the time of its passage.

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Tobias Marke, Susanne Crewell, Vera Schemann, Jan H. Schween, and Minttu Tuononen

Abstract

Low-level-jet (LLJ) periods are investigated by exploiting a long-term record of ground-based remote sensing Doppler wind lidar measurements supported by tower observations and surface flux measurements at the Jülich Observatory for Cloud Evolution (JOYCE), a midlatitude site in western Germany. LLJs were found 13% of the time during continuous observations over more than 4 yr. The climatological behavior of the LLJs shows a prevailing nighttime appearance of the jets, with a median height of 375 m and a median wind speed of 8.8 m s−1 at the jet nose. Significant turbulence below the jet nose only occurs for high bulk wind shear, which is an important parameter for describing the turbulent characteristics of the jets. The numerous LLJs (16% of all jets) in the range of wind-turbine rotor heights below 200 m demonstrate the importance of LLJs and the associated intermittent turbulence for wind-energy applications. Also, a decrease in surface fluxes and an accumulation of carbon dioxide are observed if LLJs are present. A comprehensive analysis of an LLJ case shows the influence of the surrounding topography, dominated by an open pit mine and a 200-m-high hill, on the wind observed at JOYCE. High-resolution large-eddy simulations that complement the observations show that the spatial distribution of the wind field exhibits variations connected with the orographic flow depending on the wind direction, causing high variability in the long-term measurements of the vertical velocity.

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