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Weather and Climate Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2019-9
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2019-9
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 19 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 19 Nov 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD).

Front-orography interactions during landfall of the New Year's Day Storm 1992

Clemens Spensberger1,2 and Sebastian Schemm3,2 Clemens Spensberger and Sebastian Schemm
  • 1Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique/IPSL, École Normale Supérieure/CNRS/UPMC, Paris

Abstract. Although following a common synoptic evolution for this region, the New Year's Day Storm 1992 was associated with some of the strongest winds observed along the Norwegian West Cost. The narrow wind band along its bent-back front became famous as the poisonous tail, and paved the way towards today's sting jet terminology. This article re-examines the storm's landfall with a particular focus on the interaction with the orography.

Sensitivity analyses based on WRF simulations demonstrate that the formation and the evolution of the warm-air seclusion and its poisonous tail are largely independent from orography. In contrast, the warm sector of the storm is undergoing considerable orographically induced modifications. Both warm and cold fronts are eroded rapidly, and the warm sector is lifted over the orography, thereby accelerating the occlusion process. The insensitivity of the warm-air seclusion to the orographic modifications of the warm sector raises the question to which extent these entities are still interacting after the onset of the occlusion process.

Further, we observe ubiquitous and large-amplitude internal gravity waves (IGWs) during the landfall of the warm and cold fronts, exceeding in amplitude the cross-frontal circulation. As the spatial scales of the IGW pattern and of the fronts are comparable, we speculate that wave-front interactions might have contributed to the rapid erosion of the cross-frontal temperature gradient over the orography. Further, IGWs might also provide a plausible cause for the observed near-instantaneous flow deflection around orography at 500 hPa, well above crest height.

Clemens Spensberger and Sebastian Schemm
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Clemens Spensberger and Sebastian Schemm
Clemens Spensberger and Sebastian Schemm
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Latest update: 09 Dec 2019
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Short summary
In this paper, we take a second look at the development an intense storm that made landfall in Norway a few hours into the new year of 1992, focussing on the effect of the Scandinavian mountains on the storm. We find that the cyclone core evolves largely unaffected, although both the warm and the cold front decay rapidly while passing over the mountains. This result suggest that the fronts of a cyclone can become detached from their cyclone core as part of the cyclone’s occlusion process.
In this paper, we take a second look at the development an intense storm that made landfall in...
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