Numerical Modeling of Orographically Forced Postfrontal Rain

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  • 1 CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, Mordialloc, Victoria, Australia
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Abstract

A nonhydrostatic mesoscale model is used to simulate the dynamics and microphysics of postfrontal flow in the mountainous region of southeastern Australia. The aim of the paper is to determine if it is possible to use 2D models to simulate the characteristics of the liquid water field upstream from Baw Baw Plateau under postfrontal conditions. Results from both 2D and 3D simulations are compared with aircraft and surface observations taken during the Australian Winter Storms Experiment I, conducted during July and August 1988. The observations and both the 2D and 3D simulations show that under postfrontal conditions, the main feature of the flow is a series of standing lee waves downstream from Baw Baw Plateau. The microphysical fields are characterized by a cap cloud over Baw Baw Plateau and a region of high liquid water content extending at least 50 km upstream from the plateau. Convective elements form upstream from the plateau and are subsequently advected to the northeast. As the convective elements cross Baw Baw Plateau, they precipitate and subsequently evaporate in the drier subsidence region to the lee of the plateau. The main features of the airflow and cloud fields are well simulated by the 2D model runs; however, the 2D runs overestimate the precipitation amounts as compared with the surface observations and the 3D model results.

Abstract

A nonhydrostatic mesoscale model is used to simulate the dynamics and microphysics of postfrontal flow in the mountainous region of southeastern Australia. The aim of the paper is to determine if it is possible to use 2D models to simulate the characteristics of the liquid water field upstream from Baw Baw Plateau under postfrontal conditions. Results from both 2D and 3D simulations are compared with aircraft and surface observations taken during the Australian Winter Storms Experiment I, conducted during July and August 1988. The observations and both the 2D and 3D simulations show that under postfrontal conditions, the main feature of the flow is a series of standing lee waves downstream from Baw Baw Plateau. The microphysical fields are characterized by a cap cloud over Baw Baw Plateau and a region of high liquid water content extending at least 50 km upstream from the plateau. Convective elements form upstream from the plateau and are subsequently advected to the northeast. As the convective elements cross Baw Baw Plateau, they precipitate and subsequently evaporate in the drier subsidence region to the lee of the plateau. The main features of the airflow and cloud fields are well simulated by the 2D model runs; however, the 2D runs overestimate the precipitation amounts as compared with the surface observations and the 3D model results.

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