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Numerical Simulation of Hydrostatic Mountain Waves

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo. 80307
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Abstract

A numerical model is developed for simulating the flow of stably stratified nonrotating air over finite-amplitude, two-dimensional mountain ranges. Special attention is paid to accurate treatment of internal dissipation and to formulation of an upper boundary region and lateral boundary conditions which allow upward and lateral propagation of wave energy out of the model. The model is hydrostatic and uses potential temperature for the vertical coordinate. A local adjustment procedure is derived to parameterize low Richardson number instability. The model behavior is tested against analytic theory and then applied to a variety of idealized and real flow situations, leading to some new insights and new questions on the nature of large-amplitude mountain waves. The model proves to be effective in simulating the structure of two observed cases of strong mountain waves with very different characteristics.

Abstract

A numerical model is developed for simulating the flow of stably stratified nonrotating air over finite-amplitude, two-dimensional mountain ranges. Special attention is paid to accurate treatment of internal dissipation and to formulation of an upper boundary region and lateral boundary conditions which allow upward and lateral propagation of wave energy out of the model. The model is hydrostatic and uses potential temperature for the vertical coordinate. A local adjustment procedure is derived to parameterize low Richardson number instability. The model behavior is tested against analytic theory and then applied to a variety of idealized and real flow situations, leading to some new insights and new questions on the nature of large-amplitude mountain waves. The model proves to be effective in simulating the structure of two observed cases of strong mountain waves with very different characteristics.

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