Airborne Doppler Lidar Wind Field Measurements of Waves in the Lee of Mount Shasta

William Bluman Department of Astrophysical, Planetary and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

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John E. Hart Department of Astrophysical, Planetary and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Airbone Doppler lidar wind measurements were obtained in the lee of Mount Shasta in northern California on 28 August 1984. These data consist of line of sight wind vectors at flight level (3000 m) and along planes tilted at 1, 2 and 3 degree below the 3000 m level. The observed field is confined to a rectangular box, encompassing the mountain, that extends about 40 km downwind and about 20 km crosswind. The spatial resolution of the measured wind field is approximately 330 m.

The upstream southwesterly flow tended to circumvent the mountain although some air did rise over the peak (at 4317 m) to initiate three-dimensional internal gravity waves in the lee. These waves are delineated in the two-dimensional divergence field D, determined from the downwind velocity components on each of the tilted planes with line of sight wind vector measurements. The observed field of D exhibits a peak in its power spectrum, determined along the downstream direction, at a wavelength of about 8 km with a secondary peaks at about 17 km. Data from upper air soundings at Medford, Oregon and from onboard sensors establish that the 8 km wavelength represents the free wave response, which is determined by the airstream characteristics. Comparison with the power spectrum of the mountain slope indicates that the longer wavelength is a forced response.

Qualitative aspect of the lee-wave pattern are reproduce in a linear model with uniform airstream characteristics. However, the amplitude of the free wave response is underestimated by a factor of two, and the forced wave amplitude is about three time that of the free wave. In addition, the wave disturbance produced by the linear model decays more rapidly in the downstream direction than the observed wave. These discrepancies are interpreted in relation to physical features that are contained in the linear model.

Abstract

Airbone Doppler lidar wind measurements were obtained in the lee of Mount Shasta in northern California on 28 August 1984. These data consist of line of sight wind vectors at flight level (3000 m) and along planes tilted at 1, 2 and 3 degree below the 3000 m level. The observed field is confined to a rectangular box, encompassing the mountain, that extends about 40 km downwind and about 20 km crosswind. The spatial resolution of the measured wind field is approximately 330 m.

The upstream southwesterly flow tended to circumvent the mountain although some air did rise over the peak (at 4317 m) to initiate three-dimensional internal gravity waves in the lee. These waves are delineated in the two-dimensional divergence field D, determined from the downwind velocity components on each of the tilted planes with line of sight wind vector measurements. The observed field of D exhibits a peak in its power spectrum, determined along the downstream direction, at a wavelength of about 8 km with a secondary peaks at about 17 km. Data from upper air soundings at Medford, Oregon and from onboard sensors establish that the 8 km wavelength represents the free wave response, which is determined by the airstream characteristics. Comparison with the power spectrum of the mountain slope indicates that the longer wavelength is a forced response.

Qualitative aspect of the lee-wave pattern are reproduce in a linear model with uniform airstream characteristics. However, the amplitude of the free wave response is underestimated by a factor of two, and the forced wave amplitude is about three time that of the free wave. In addition, the wave disturbance produced by the linear model decays more rapidly in the downstream direction than the observed wave. These discrepancies are interpreted in relation to physical features that are contained in the linear model.

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