All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 137 41 7
PDF Downloads 113 35 5

Numerical Simulation of the Airflow over Lake Michigan for a Major Lake-Effect Snow Event

View More View Less
  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307
  • | 2 Cloud Physics Laboratory, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637
Full access

Abstract

A mesoscale model is used to simulate the airflow over Lake Michigan for the major lake-effect snowstorm of 10 December 1977. This storm was characterized by a land breeze circulation and a narrow shore-parallel radar reflectivity band. The model successfully simulated the major atmospheric circulation features including a mesoscale low pressure center and a land breeze front. The model also captured the general character of the observed precipitation pattern which was typified by a narrow band of heavy precipitation along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

Further simulations were made to examine the effects of latent heat release, lake surface temperature distribution and model grid resolution upon the simulation. Latent heat release was found to have an important effect in strengthening convection. However, the basic land-breeze circulation was found to develop for the simulated conditions even without latent beating. For a given mean lake-land temperature difference, details of the lake surface temperature distribution were found to have a small effect. Simulations with varying model grid resolution suggest that a horizontal grid scale ≳ 20 km is insufficient to resolve the observed precipitation and airflow patterns for this storm.

Abstract

A mesoscale model is used to simulate the airflow over Lake Michigan for the major lake-effect snowstorm of 10 December 1977. This storm was characterized by a land breeze circulation and a narrow shore-parallel radar reflectivity band. The model successfully simulated the major atmospheric circulation features including a mesoscale low pressure center and a land breeze front. The model also captured the general character of the observed precipitation pattern which was typified by a narrow band of heavy precipitation along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

Further simulations were made to examine the effects of latent heat release, lake surface temperature distribution and model grid resolution upon the simulation. Latent heat release was found to have an important effect in strengthening convection. However, the basic land-breeze circulation was found to develop for the simulated conditions even without latent beating. For a given mean lake-land temperature difference, details of the lake surface temperature distribution were found to have a small effect. Simulations with varying model grid resolution suggest that a horizontal grid scale ≳ 20 km is insufficient to resolve the observed precipitation and airflow patterns for this storm.

Save