Structure and Evolution of an Undular Bore on the High Plains and Its Effects on Migrating Birds

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On 18 September 1992 a series of thunderstorms in Nebraska and eastern Colorado, which formed south of a synopticscale cold front and north of a Rocky Mountain lee trough, produced a cold outflow gust front that moved southeastward into Kansas, southeastern Colorado, and Oklahoma around sunset. When this cold outflow reached the vicinity of the lee trough, an undular bore developed on a nocturnally produced stable layer and moved through the range of the Dodge City WSR-88D Doppler radar. The radar data revealed that the undular bore, in the leading portion of a region of northwesterly winds about 45 km wide by 4 km high directly abutting the cold outflow, developed five undulations over the course of 3 h. Contrary to laboratory tank experiments, observations indicated that the solitary waves that composed the bore probably did not form from the enveloping of the head of the cold air outflow by the stable layer and the breaking off of the head of the cold air outflow. The synoptic-scale cold front subsequently intruded on the surface layer of air produced by the cold outflow, but there was no evidence for the formation of another bore.

Profiler winds, in the region affected by the cold air outflow and the undular bore, contained signals from nocturnally, southward-migrating birds (most likely waterfowl) that took off in nonfavorable southerly winds and remained aloft for several hours longer than usual, thereby staying ahead of the turbulence associated with the undular bore.

*Department of Armospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

+National Weather Service, Dodge City, Kansas.

Corresponding author address: Peter V. Hobbs, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Box 351640, Seattle, WA 98195-1640. E-mail: phobbs@atmos.washington.edu

On 18 September 1992 a series of thunderstorms in Nebraska and eastern Colorado, which formed south of a synopticscale cold front and north of a Rocky Mountain lee trough, produced a cold outflow gust front that moved southeastward into Kansas, southeastern Colorado, and Oklahoma around sunset. When this cold outflow reached the vicinity of the lee trough, an undular bore developed on a nocturnally produced stable layer and moved through the range of the Dodge City WSR-88D Doppler radar. The radar data revealed that the undular bore, in the leading portion of a region of northwesterly winds about 45 km wide by 4 km high directly abutting the cold outflow, developed five undulations over the course of 3 h. Contrary to laboratory tank experiments, observations indicated that the solitary waves that composed the bore probably did not form from the enveloping of the head of the cold air outflow by the stable layer and the breaking off of the head of the cold air outflow. The synoptic-scale cold front subsequently intruded on the surface layer of air produced by the cold outflow, but there was no evidence for the formation of another bore.

Profiler winds, in the region affected by the cold air outflow and the undular bore, contained signals from nocturnally, southward-migrating birds (most likely waterfowl) that took off in nonfavorable southerly winds and remained aloft for several hours longer than usual, thereby staying ahead of the turbulence associated with the undular bore.

*Department of Armospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

+National Weather Service, Dodge City, Kansas.

Corresponding author address: Peter V. Hobbs, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Box 351640, Seattle, WA 98195-1640. E-mail: phobbs@atmos.washington.edu
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