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Investigations of a Winter Mountain Storm in Utah. Part III: Single-Doppler Radar Measurements of Turbulence

Bernard CampistronCentre de Recherches Atmosphériques, O.M.P./L.A., Lannemezan, France

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Arlen W. HugginsAtmospheric Sciences Center, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada

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Alexis B. LongAtmospheric Sciences Center, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada

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Abstract

This Part III of a multipart paper deals with the analysis of turbulent motion in a winter storm, which occurred over the mountains of southwest Utah. The storm was documented with a long duration single Doppler radar dataset (∼21 h) comprised of volume scan observations acquired at 10-min intervals. Turbulence parameters were determined using a new technique of volume processing of single Doppler radar data.

Physical analysis of turbulence is restricted to three particular storm regions: a prefrontal region far removed from a cold frontal discontinuity, a frontal zone aloft, and a low layer in the post-frontal region where a long lasting (∼6 h) wind-maximum existed. The prefrontal period showed enhancement of turbulent parameters near 2.6 km height, apparently due to disturbed flow caused by an upwind mountain range. Turbulence parameters in this prefrontal region showed good agreement with K-mixing length theory. Within the frontal zone most turbulence parameters reached peak values, but were generally less than orographically induced turbulence values in the prefrontal period.

Turbulence in the low-level postfrontal period experienced periodic oscillations consistent with precipitation and kinematic variables described in Parts I and II, and associated with mesoscale precipitation bands. Acceleration of the valley-parallel wind component was apparent in prefrontal and postfrontal periods and was related to the specific valley configuration through a Venturi effect.

Abstract

This Part III of a multipart paper deals with the analysis of turbulent motion in a winter storm, which occurred over the mountains of southwest Utah. The storm was documented with a long duration single Doppler radar dataset (∼21 h) comprised of volume scan observations acquired at 10-min intervals. Turbulence parameters were determined using a new technique of volume processing of single Doppler radar data.

Physical analysis of turbulence is restricted to three particular storm regions: a prefrontal region far removed from a cold frontal discontinuity, a frontal zone aloft, and a low layer in the post-frontal region where a long lasting (∼6 h) wind-maximum existed. The prefrontal period showed enhancement of turbulent parameters near 2.6 km height, apparently due to disturbed flow caused by an upwind mountain range. Turbulence parameters in this prefrontal region showed good agreement with K-mixing length theory. Within the frontal zone most turbulence parameters reached peak values, but were generally less than orographically induced turbulence values in the prefrontal period.

Turbulence in the low-level postfrontal period experienced periodic oscillations consistent with precipitation and kinematic variables described in Parts I and II, and associated with mesoscale precipitation bands. Acceleration of the valley-parallel wind component was apparent in prefrontal and postfrontal periods and was related to the specific valley configuration through a Venturi effect.

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