A conceptual view on inertial oscillations and nocturnal low-level jets

B.J.H. Wiel, van de, A.F. Moene, G.J. Steeneveld, P. Baas, F.C. Bosveld, A.A.M. Holtslag

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Abstract

In the present work Blackadar’s concept of nocturnal inertial oscillations is extended. Blackadar’s concept describes frictionless inertial oscillations above the nocturnal inversion layer. The current work includes frictional effects within the nocturnal boundary layer. It is shown that the nocturnal wind speed profile describes an oscillation around the nocturnal equilibrium wind vector, rather than around the geostrophic wind vector (as in the Blackadar case). By using this perspective, continuous time-dependent wind profiles are predicted. As such, information on both the height and the magnitude of the nocturnal low-level jet is available as a function of time. Preliminary analysis shows that the proposed extension performs well in comparison with observations when a simple Ekman model is used to represent the equilibrium state in combination with a realistic initial velocity profile. In addition to jet dynamics, backward inertial oscillations are predicted at lower levels close to the surface, which also appear to be present in observations. The backward oscillation forms an important mechanism behind weakening low-level winds during the afternoon transition. Both observational and theoretical modeling studies are needed to explore this phenomenon further.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2679-2689
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume67
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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