Climatology of the Sierra Nevada Mountain-Wave Events

Grubišić, Vanda; Billings, Brian J.
February 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Feb2008, Vol. 136 Issue 2, p757
Academic Journal
This note presents a satellite-based climatology of the Sierra Nevada mountain-wave events. The data presented were obtained by detailed visual inspection of visible satellite imagery to detect mountain lee-wave clouds based on their location, shape, and texture. Consequently, this climatology includes only mountain-wave events during which sufficient moisture was present in the incoming airstream and whose amplitude was large enough to lead to cloud formation atop mountain-wave crests. The climatology is based on data from two mountain-wave seasons in the 1999–2001 period. Mountain-wave events are classified in two types according to cloud type as lee-wave trains and single wave clouds. The frequency of occurrence of these two wave types is examined as a function of the month of occurrence (October–May) and region of formation (north, middle, south, or the entire Sierra Nevada range). Results indicate that the maximum number of mountain-wave events in the lee of the Sierra Nevada occurs in the month of April. For several months, including January and May, frequency of wave events displays substantial interannual variability. Overall, trapped lee waves appear to be more common, in particular in the lee of the northern sierra. A single wave cloud on the lee side of the mountain range was found to be a more common wave form in the southern Sierra Nevada. The average wavelength of the Sierra Nevada lee waves was found to lie between 10 and 15 km, with a minimum at 4 km and a maximum at 32 km.


Related Articles

  • Snowy peaks, polished rock, falling water. Codye, Corinn // California Chronicles;Jan2000, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p2 

    Details the history of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. Effect of the mountain range on California's climate and landscape; Composition of the range; Factors that cause the continuous transformation of the Sierra Nevada.

  • Efforts Renew to Understand Dangers of Mountain Flying.  // Air Safety Week;4/3/2006, Vol. 20 Issue 14, p1 

    Focuses on a research project in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California that will address the wind phenomenon known as a mountain rotor. Benefits of the terrain-induced rotor experiment to the aviation industry; Overview of wave-related aircraft accidents; Contribution of rotor waves to...

  • Species-specific response to climate reconstruction in upper-elevation mixed-conifer forests of the western Sierra Nevada, California. Hurteau, Matthew; Zald, Harold; North, Malcolm // Canadian Journal of Forest Research;Sep2007, Vol. 37 Issue 9, p1681 

    Dendrochronology climate reconstruction studies often sample dominant, open-grown trees to reduce competition effects and isolate annual climate influences on radial increment growth. However, there has been no examination of how species respond as stand densities increase or which species in...

  • The Role of Upstream Midtropospheric Circulations in the Sierra Nevada Enabling Leeside (Spillover) Precipitation. Part I: A Synoptic-Scale Analysis of Spillover Precipitation and Flooding in a Leeside Basin. Underwood, S. Jeffrey; Kaplan, Michael L.; King, K. C. // Journal of Hydrometeorology;Dec2009, Vol. 10 Issue 6, p1309 

    Pacific-originating storms that produce heavy leeside liquid precipitation in the Sierra Nevada are rare compared to those that generate windward slope rainfall. However, these leeside precipitation events have a profound effect on the flood hydrology of leeside basins in the Sierra Nevada. This...

  • CHAPTER 5: The Sierra Nevada.  // Weather Extremes of the West;2005, p92 

    Chapter 5 of the book "Weather Extremes in the West" is presented. An overview of the weather and climate in the Sierra Nevada region in California and Nevada, as well as the climate graph and climate characteristics of the region are discussed. It highlights several extreme, historic and unique...

  • The Impact of Moisture on Mountain Waves during T-REX. Qingfang Jiang; Doyle, James D. // Monthly Weather Review;Nov2009, Vol. 137 Issue 11, p3888 

    The impact of moist processes on mountain waves over Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is investigated in this study. Aircraft measurements over Owens Valley obtained during the Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) indicate that mountain waves were generally weaker when the relative humidity...

  • Short-Wave Signatures of Stratospheric Mountain Wave Breaking. Woods, Bryan K.; Smith, Ronald B. // Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences;Mar2011, Vol. 68 Issue 3, p635 

    Recent stratospheric mountain wave measurements over the Sierra Nevada indicate that downgoing secondary waves may be common or even ubiquitous in large wave events. Because of their short wavelengths, they may dominate the vertical velocity field near the tropopause, and they give a remote...

  • 800 years of vegetation change, fire and human settlement in the Sierra Nevada of California, USA. Anderson, R Scott; Stillick, Roger D // Holocene;Jun2013, Vol. 23 Issue 6, p823 

    A combination of pollen and sedimentary charcoal stratigraphies are used in conjunction with historical records to determine the relationships between climate, vegetation change and changing disturbances over the last 800 years in the Sierra Nevada, California. This period witnessed significant...

  • Forcing Mechanisms for Washoe Zephyr—A Daytime Downslope Wind System in the Lee of the Sierra Nevada. Shiyuan Zhong; Ju Li; Clements, Craig B.; De Wekker, Stephan F. J.; Xindi Bian // Journal of Applied Meteorology & Climatology;Jan2008, Vol. 47 Issue 1, p339 

    This paper investigates the formation mechanisms for a local wind phenomenon known as Washoe Zephyr that occurs frequently in the lee of the Sierra Nevada. Unlike the typical thermally driven slope flows with upslope wind during daytime and downslope at night, the Washoe Zephyr winds blow down...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics