The Interactions of Gravity Waves with Mesocyclones: Preliminary Observations and Theory

Coleman, Timothy A.; Knupp, Kevin R.
November 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Nov2008, Vol. 136 Issue 11, p4206
Academic Journal
Apparent interactions between ducted gravity waves and preexisting mesocyclones are investigated. Preliminary analyses of Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) observations from several cases reveal that the intersection of fine lines, whose propagation speed is consistent with that of gravity waves, and existing mesocyclones leads to an increase in the rotational velocity of the mesocyclone. Utilizing simplified ducted wave kinematics and the vorticity equation, changes in vorticity associated with convergence–divergence and perturbation wind shear within the gravity wave are examined. Convergence ahead of wave ridges may be significant, causing mesocyclone intensification through vorticity stretching. It will also be shown that a wave may significantly change the vertical wind shear and streamwise vorticity in storm inflow. A simple one-dimensional model is presented, which shows that vorticity decreases temporarily ahead of the wave ridge, then increases rapidly behind the ridge as positive tilting and stretching act together. The mesocyclone vorticity reaches a peak just ahead of the wave ridge, then begins to rapidly decrease behind the ridge. Model results compared very well to actual measurements in a sample case in which a mesocyclone interacted with two gravity waves of different amplitudes.


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