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Daniel Leukauf, Alexander Gohm, Mathias W. Rotach, and Johannes S. Wagner

Abstract

The breakup of a nocturnal temperature inversion during daytime is studied in an idealized valley by means of high-resolution numerical simulations. Vertical fluxes of heat and mass are strongly reduced as long as an inversion is present; hence it is important to understand the mechanisms leading to its removal. In this study breakup times are determined as a function of the radiative forcing. Further, the effect of the nocturnal inversion on the vertical exchange of heat and mass is quantified. The Weather Research and Forecasting Model is applied to an idealized quasi-two-dimensional valley. The net shortwave radiation is specified by a sine function with amplitudes between 150 and 850 W m−2 during daytime and at zero during the night. The valley inversion is eroded within 5 h for the strongest forcing. A minimal amplitude of 450 W m−2 is required to reach the breakup, in which case the inversion is removed after 11 h. Depending on the forcing amplitude, between 10% and 57% of the energy provided by the surface sensible heat flux is exported out of the valley during the whole day. The ratio of exported energy to provided energy is approximately 1.6 times as large after the inversion is removed as before. More than 5 times the valley air mass is turned over in 12 h for the strongest forcing, whereas the mass is turned over only 1.3 times for 400 W m−2.

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Johannes S. Wagner, Alexander Gohm, and Mathias W. Rotach

Abstract

The role of horizontal model grid resolution on the development of the daytime boundary layer over mountainous terrain is studied. A simple idealized valley topography with a cross-valley width of 20 km, a valley depth of 1.5 km, and a constant surface heat flux forcing is used to generate upslope flows in a warming valley boundary layer. The goal of this study is to investigate differences in the boundary layer structure of the valley when its topography is either fully resolved, smoothed, or not resolved by the numerical model. This is done by performing both large-eddy (LES) and kilometer-scale simulations with horizontal mesh sizes of 50, 1000, 2000, 4000, 5000, and 10 000 m. In LES mode a valley inversion layer develops, which separates two vertically stacked circulation cells in an upper and lower boundary layer. These structures weaken with decreasing horizontal model grid resolution and change to a convective boundary layer over an elevated plain when the valley is no longer resolved. Mean profiles of the LES run, which are obtained by horizontal averaging over the valley show a three-layer thermal structure and a secondary heat flux maximum at ridge height. Strong smoothing of the valley topography prevents the development of a valley inversion layer with stacked circulation cells and leads to higher valley temperatures due to smaller valley volumes. Additional LES and “1 km” runs over corresponding smoothed valleys reveal that differences occur mainly because of unresolved topography and not because of unresolved turbulence processes. Furthermore, the deactivation of horizontal diffusion improved simulations with 1- and 2-km horizontal resolution.

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Tanja C. Portele, Andreas Dörnbrack, Johannes S. Wagner, Sonja Gisinger, Benedikt Ehard, Pierre-Dominique Pautet, and Markus Rapp

Abstract

The impact of transient tropospheric forcing on the deep vertical mountain-wave propagation is investigated by a unique combination of in situ and remote sensing observations and numerical modeling. The temporal evolution of the upstream low-level wind follows approximately a shape and was controlled by a migrating trough and connected fronts. Our case study reveals the importance of the time-varying propagation conditions in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). Upper-tropospheric stability, the wind profile, and the tropopause strength affected the observed and simulated wave response in the UTLS. Leg-integrated along-track momentum fluxes () and amplitudes of vertical displacements of air parcels in the UTLS reached up to 130 kN m−1 and 1500 m, respectively. Their maxima were phase shifted to the maximum low-level forcing by ≈8 h. Small-scale waves ( km) were continuously forced, and their flux values depended on wave attenuation by breaking and reflection in the UTLS region. Only maximum flow over the envelope of the mountain range favored the excitation of longer waves that propagated deeply into the mesosphere. Their long propagation time caused a retarded enhancement of observed mesospheric gravity wave activity about 12–15 h after their observation in the UTLS. For the UTLS, we further compared observed and simulated with fluxes of 2D quasi-steady runs. UTLS momentum fluxes seem to be reproducible by individual quasi-steady 2D runs, except for the flux enhancement during the early decelerating forcing phase.

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David C. Fritts, Ronald B. Smith, Michael J. Taylor, James D. Doyle, Stephen D. Eckermann, Andreas Dörnbrack, Markus Rapp, Bifford P. Williams, P.-Dominique Pautet, Katrina Bossert, Neal R. Criddle, Carolyn A. Reynolds, P. Alex Reinecke, Michael Uddstrom, Michael J. Revell, Richard Turner, Bernd Kaifler, Johannes S. Wagner, Tyler Mixa, Christopher G. Kruse, Alison D. Nugent, Campbell D. Watson, Sonja Gisinger, Steven M. Smith, Ruth S. Lieberman, Brian Laughman, James J. Moore, William O. Brown, Julie A. Haggerty, Alison Rockwell, Gregory J. Stossmeister, Steven F. Williams, Gonzalo Hernandez, Damian J. Murphy, Andrew R. Klekociuk, Iain M. Reid, and Jun Ma

Abstract

The Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE) was designed to quantify gravity wave (GW) dynamics and effects from orographic and other sources to regions of dissipation at high altitudes. The core DEEPWAVE field phase took place from May through July 2014 using a comprehensive suite of airborne and ground-based instruments providing measurements from Earth’s surface to ∼100 km. Austral winter was chosen to observe deep GW propagation to high altitudes. DEEPWAVE was based on South Island, New Zealand, to provide access to the New Zealand and Tasmanian “hotspots” of GW activity and additional GW sources over the Southern Ocean and Tasman Sea. To observe GWs up to ∼100 km, DEEPWAVE utilized three new instruments built specifically for the National Science Foundation (NSF)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Gulfstream V (GV): a Rayleigh lidar, a sodium resonance lidar, and an advanced mesosphere temperature mapper. These measurements were supplemented by in situ probes, dropsondes, and a microwave temperature profiler on the GV and by in situ probes and a Doppler lidar aboard the German DLR Falcon. Extensive ground-based instrumentation and radiosondes were deployed on South Island, Tasmania, and Southern Ocean islands. Deep orographic GWs were a primary target but multiple flights also observed deep GWs arising from deep convection, jet streams, and frontal systems. Highlights include the following: 1) strong orographic GW forcing accompanying strong cross-mountain flows, 2) strong high-altitude responses even when orographic forcing was weak, 3) large-scale GWs at high altitudes arising from jet stream sources, and 4) significant flight-level energy fluxes and often very large momentum fluxes at high altitudes.

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