The role of wave dynamics and small-scale topography for downslope wind events in southeast Greenland
Moore, G. W. K.
MetadataShow full item record
KeywordKatabatic winds; Severe storms; Air-sea interaction; Mesoscale processes; Orographic effects; Model evaluation/performance
In Ammassalik, in southeast Greenland, downslope winds can reach hurricane intensity and represent a hazard for the local population and environment. They advect cold air down the ice sheet and over the Irminger Sea, where they drive large ocean–atmosphere heat fluxes over an important ocean convection region. Earlier studies have found them to be associated with a strong katabatic acceleration over the steep coastal slopes, flow convergence inside the valley of Ammassalik, and—in one instance—mountain wave breaking. Yet, for the general occurrence of strong downslope wind events, the importance of mesoscale processes is largely unknown. Here, two wind events—one weak and one strong—are simulated with the atmospheric Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model with different model and topography resolutions, ranging from 1.67 to 60 km. For both events, but especially for the strong one, it is found that lower resolutions underestimate the wind speed because they misrepresent the steepness of the topography and do not account for the underlying wave dynamics. If a 5-km model instead of a 60-km model resolution in Ammassalik is used, the flow associated with the strong wind event is faster by up to 20 m s−1. The effects extend far downstream over the Irminger Sea, resulting in a diverging spatial distribution and temporal evolution of the heat fluxes. Local differences in the heat fluxes amount to 20%, with potential implications for ocean convection.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 72 (2015): 2786–2805, doi:10.1175/JAS-D-14-0257.1.