The Interaction of Jet Streak Circulations during Heavy Snow Events along the East Coast of the United States

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  • 1 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771
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Abstract

The interaction of transverse vertical circulations associated with two separate jet steak/trough systems is found to be a common feature of cyclogenetic events which produce heavy snow along the East Coast of the United States. The transverse circulations are identified for eight cases that span the period from 1960 to 1987 utilizing an isentropic analysis of the operational radiosonde data. The analyses depict the interaction of 1) a direct circulation located within the confluent entrance region of an upper-level jet streak over the northeastern United States or southeastern Canada with 2) an indirect circulation in the diffluent exit region of a jet streak associated with a trough nearing the East Coast. This interaction contributes to differential moisture and temperature advections and vertical motions necessary to produce heavy snowfall along the coast. It is suggested that the circulation patterns associated with the jet streak establish an environment within which boundary layer processes (e.g., cold-air damming, coastal frontogenesis, the development of a low-level jet Streak) can further contribute to cyclogenesis and the development of severe winter weather conditions.

Abstract

The interaction of transverse vertical circulations associated with two separate jet steak/trough systems is found to be a common feature of cyclogenetic events which produce heavy snow along the East Coast of the United States. The transverse circulations are identified for eight cases that span the period from 1960 to 1987 utilizing an isentropic analysis of the operational radiosonde data. The analyses depict the interaction of 1) a direct circulation located within the confluent entrance region of an upper-level jet streak over the northeastern United States or southeastern Canada with 2) an indirect circulation in the diffluent exit region of a jet streak associated with a trough nearing the East Coast. This interaction contributes to differential moisture and temperature advections and vertical motions necessary to produce heavy snowfall along the coast. It is suggested that the circulation patterns associated with the jet streak establish an environment within which boundary layer processes (e.g., cold-air damming, coastal frontogenesis, the development of a low-level jet Streak) can further contribute to cyclogenesis and the development of severe winter weather conditions.

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