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Andre K. Pattantyus, Sen Chiao, and Stanley Czyzyk


Numerical simulations for severe downslope winds as well as trapped lee waves in Nevada’s Las Vegas Valley were performed in this study. The goal of this study was to improve model forecasts of downslope-wind-event intensities. This was measured by assessing different planetary boundary layer (PBL) schemes in the mountain–valley region. The Weather Research and Forecasting Model was adopted for this research. The numerical experiments were constructed using two nested domains, with 4- and 1-km grid resolution. The working hypothesis was that the occurrence of low-level wind shear and surface gustiness in the Las Vegas Valley was guided by the inversion layer in the valley. The choice of boundary layer scheme and model vertical resolution will influence inversion-layer height and consequently result in significant differences in surface wind and temperature forecast error below some near-surface height. Simulations of severe downslope wind events on 15 April 2008 and on 4 October 2009 were conducted. Statistical analyses of model results from three different PBL schemes and different vertical resolutions were performed. The results from the domain with 1-km grid spacing demonstrated remarkable detail of the severe downslope winds associated with low-level wind shear and surface gustiness in the Las Vegas Valley. The simulation results demonstrated that model vertical resolution was primarily responsible for the detail of the lower-level wind and temperature structures. The inverse Froude number and Froude number are two indices that may be included as the forecasting guidance for downslope winds, lee waves, and rotors for the Las Vegas Valley.

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A Field Campaign Overview Including Observational Highlights

Vanda Grubišić, James D. Doyle, Joachim Kuettner, Stephen Mobbs, Ronald B. Smith, C. David Whiteman, Richard Dirks, Stanley Czyzyk, Stephen A. Cohn, Simon Vosper, Martin Weissmann, Samuel Haimov, Stephan F. J. De Wekker, Laura L. Pan, and Fotini Katopodes Chow

The Terrain-Induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) is a coordinated international project, composed of an observational field campaign and a research program, focused on the investigation of atmospheric rotors and closely related phenomena in complex terrain. The T-REX field campaign took place during March and April 2006 in the lee of the southern Sierra Nevada in eastern California. Atmospheric rotors have been traditionally defined as quasi-two-dimensional atmospheric vortices that form parallel to and downwind of a mountain ridge under conditions conducive to the generation of large-amplitude mountain waves. Intermittency, high levels of turbulence, and complex small-scale internal structure characterize rotors, which are known hazards to general aviation. The objective of the T-REX field campaign was to provide an unprecedented comprehensive set of in situ and remotely sensed meteorological observations from the ground to UTLS altitudes for the documentation of the spatiotemporal characteristics and internal structure of a tightly coupled system consisting of an atmospheric rotor, terrain-induced internal gravity waves, and a complex terrain boundary layer. In addition, T-REX had several ancillary objectives including the studies of UTLS chemical distribution in the presence of mountain waves and complex-terrain boundary layer in the absence of waves and rotors. This overview provides a background of the project including the information on its science objectives, experimental design, and observational systems, along with highlights of key observations obtained during the field campaign.

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