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Original Research Papers

Fine-scale model simulation of gravity waves generated by Basen nunatak in Antarctica

Authors:

Teresa Valkonen ,

Department of Physics, 00014 University of Helsinki, FI
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Timo Vihma,

Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, FI
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Sheila Kirkwood,

Atmospheric Physics Programme, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, SE
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Milla M. Johansson

Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, FI
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Abstract

Gravity waves over a small nunatak in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, were simulated applying the mesoscale model Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF).Most model experiments were made using three nested domains with 0.9 km horizontal resolution in the finest grid. The model results were validated against observations from a vertically pointing 54.5 MHz VHF radar, which provided profiles of the vertical and horizontal wind components over the nunatak. The WRF model generated gravity waves in the periods when these were observed. The modelled wave characteristics were qualitatively similar to the observed ones, although quantitative differences existed. The gravity wave had a typical vertical wave length of 3–4 km, and a maximum amplitude of 1 ms−1 in the vertical velocity field. The amplitude was largest at altitude of 2.0–3.5 km. The wave was strongest during nighttime, when the surface sensible heat flux was downwards. The evolution of vertical profiles of the observed rms fluctuation of vertical wind velocity and the modelled bulk Richardson number resembled each other. Gravity waves may affect the safety of aircraft landing and take-off on the lee side of the nunatak.

How to Cite: Valkonen, T., Vihma, T., Kirkwood, S. and Johansson, M.M., 2010. Fine-scale model simulation of gravity waves generated by Basen nunatak in Antarctica. Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 62(3), pp.319–332. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0870.2009.00443.x
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  Published on 01 Jan 2010
 Accepted on 5 Mar 2010            Submitted on 16 Jun 2009

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