Repository: Freie Universität Berlin, Math Department

Observations and Numerical Simulations of Subrotor Vortices during T-REX

Doyle, J.D. and Grubišić, V. and Brown, W.O.J. and De Wekker, S.F.J. and Dörnbrack, A. and Jiang, Q. and Mayor, S.D. and Weissman, M. (2008) Observations and Numerical Simulations of Subrotor Vortices during T-REX. J. Atmos. Sci., 66 (5). ISSN Online 1520-0469 Print 0022-4928

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High-resolution observations from scanning Doppler and aerosol lidars, wind profiler radars, as well as surface and aircraft measurements during the Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) provide the first comprehensive documentation of small-scale intense vortices associated with atmospheric rotors that form in the lee of mountainous terrain. Although rotors are already recognized as potential hazards for aircraft, it is proposed that these small-scale vortices, or subrotors, are the most dangerous features because of strong wind shear and the transient nature of the vortices. A life cycle of a subrotor event is captured by scanning Doppler and aerosol lidars over a 5-min period. The lidars depict an amplifying vortex, with a characteristic length scale of 500–1000 m, that overturns and intensifies to a maximum spanwise vorticity greater than 0.2 s−1. Radar wind profiler observations document a series of vortices, characterized by updraft/downdraft couplets and regions of enhanced reversed flow, that are generated in a layer of strong vertical wind shear and subcritical Richardson number. The observations and numerical simulations reveal that turbulent subrotors occur most frequently along the leading edge of an elevated sheet of horizontal vorticity that is a manifestation of boundary layer shear and separation along the lee slopes. As the subrotors break from the vortex sheet, intensification occurs through vortex stretching and in some cases tilting processes related to three-dimensional turbulent mixing. The subrotors and ambient vortex sheet are shown to intensify through a modest increase in the upstream inversion strength, which illustrates the predictability challenges for the turbulent characterization of rotors.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Mathematical and Computer Sciences > Mathematics > Applied Mathematics
ID Code:970
Deposited By: Ulrike Eickers
Deposited On:21 Oct 2010 10:29
Last Modified:21 Oct 2010 10:29

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