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Keith F. Brill, Louis W. Uccellini, Richard P. Burkhart, Thomas T. Warner, and Richard A. Anthes


Uccellini and Johnson present a case study of a severe weather event in Ohio on 10–11 May 1973 to show evidence for coupling between an upper-tropospheric jet streak and a low-level jet within an indirect transverse circulation found in the exit region of the upper-level jet. The differential advection of moisture and temperature created by the shear between the upper- and low-level jets reduced convective stability, thereby enhancing the potential for severe convection.

Two 12 h numerical simulations of the 10–11 May 1973 case are studied to determine 1) if a transverse indirect circulation with a low-level jet imbedded in its lower branch can be diagnosed in the exit region of the upper-level jet and studied using the model output at 3 h intervals and 2) if the initial magnitude and structure of the upper-level jet have a significant effect on the subsequent development of the low-level jet and the decrease in convectivc stability due to differential advection. In an adiabatic model simulation, an indirect transverse circulation having a low-level jet within its lower branch occurs in the exit region of the upper-level jet. The simulated vertical distribution of mass divergence and ageostrophic flow in the exit region agree with the diagnoses of Uccellini and Johnson. At upper levels, mass divergence (convergence) occurs on the cyclonic (anticyclonic) side of the exit region, while the opposite occurs at low levels. The, upper branch of the indirect circulation is dominated by the inertial–advective contribution to the ageostrophic wind which is related to the alongstream isotach gradient in the exit region. The lower branch is dominated by the wind tendency contribution to the ageostrophic wind. Ageostrophic shear associated with this circulation contributes to the development of differential moisture and temperature advection, which act to destabilize the preconvective environment.

A second simulation using a smoothed, nondivergent initialization with a weaker upper-level jet streak and weaker alongside isotach gradient in the exit region of the upper-level jet produces a weaker indirect transverse circulation even though diabatic heating effects are present. The indirect circulation for this simulation is marked by smaller vertical motions, a weaker low-level return branch, and weaker low-level thermal and moisture advection associated with the low-level flow. Comparison of the two simulations suggests that the indirect circulation in the exit region of the upper-level jet is strongly responsive to dynamical processes associated with the initial structure of the jet streak.

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