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Trapped supercritical flows: Numerical simulations with idealized topography
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
1999 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Numerical simulations of supercritical coastal flows have been performed. The meso-γ-scale model which has been used in this study is non-linear, hydrostatic and has a higher-order turbulence closure. Previous studies of supercritical coastal flows with this model have given rise to some questions and hypotheses, e. g. is the gradual curvature of the main coastal mountains north of Cape Mendocino sufficient to excite an expansion fan? Is the local terrain of Cape Mendocino responsible for the collapse of the marine atmospheric layer (MABL) in Shelter Cove? This study was designed to answer these questions. The terrain used in the simulations was generated by a simple analytical function and fitted to the real terrain north of Cape Mendocino in a sense that it would reflect it as good as possible, neglecting ”small” changes in the orientation of the coast and height of the terrain. This made it possible to test hypotheses related to the coastline shape one by one.

Simulations that were performed are: Piecewise linear coasts with constant terrain height where the change in coastline orientation, the height of the inversion and strength of the background wind speed was varied; Piecewise linear coasts where the height of the terrain was varying along the coast; Curved coastlines with different curvatures; Piecewise linear coasts with simplified capes perpendicular to the coast where the height of the cape was varied.

It was found that the angle with which the coast turns away from the flow regulates the amount of acceleration in the following expansion fan. A decreasing height of the terrain along the coast lead to an increased acceleration of the flow, the largest acceleration was found when the slope of the terrain was confined to the change in coastline orientation. It was concluded that this is comparable to an increased change in coastline orientation. The simulations with curved coastlines confirmed the hypothesis that the gradual curvature of the main coastal mountains north of Cape Mendocino is sufficient to excite an expansion fan. In fact, a curved coastline leads to a stronger acceleration of the flow than a piecewise linear coastline. One of the most striking features in this study was that the acceleration of the flow started far upstream of the change in coastline orientation, even though the flows were supercritical. This phenomenon was mainly found in the cases with the highest wind speeds. It is suggested that the upstream acceleration of the flow is due to either high amplitude gravity waves propagating within the MABL or internal gravity waves propagating above the inversion. When a cape was inserted perpendicular to the main coastline, this showed that even with a cape as low as approximately half the depth of the MABL, the flow was significantly blocked. Indications of wave-breaking on the lee side of the cape was also found, which confirmed the hypothesis that the local terrain of Cape Mendocino is responsible for the collapse of the MABL in Shelter Cove.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1999. , p. 64
Keywords [en]
Supercritical flow, Expansion fan, Numerical simulations, Meso-scale
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-392620OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-392620DiVA, id: diva2:1349213
Subject / course
Meteorology
Educational program
Matematisk-naturvetenskaplig linje
Available from: 2019-09-06 Created: 2019-09-06 Last updated: 2019-09-06Bibliographically approved

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