A research program on atmospheric boundary layer processes and local wind regimes in complex terrain was conducted in the vicinity of Lake Tekapo in the southern Alps of New Zealand, during two 1-month field campaigns in 1997 and 1999. The effects of the interaction of thermal and dynamic forcing were of specific interest, with a particular focus on the interaction of thermal forcing of differing scales. The rationale and objectives of the field and modeling program are described, along with the methodology used to achieve them. Specific research aims include improved knowledge of the role of surface forcing associated with varying energy balances across heterogeneous terrain, thermal influences on boundary layer and local wind development, and dynamic influences of the terrain through channeling effects. Data were collected using a network of surface meteorological and energy balance stations, radiosonde and pilot balloon soundings, tethered balloon and kite-based systems, sodar, and an instrumented light aircraft. These data are being used to investigate the energetics of surface heat fluxes, the effects of localized heating/cooling and advective processes on atmospheric boundary layer development, and dynamic channeling. A complementary program of numerical modeling includes application of the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) to case studies characterizing typical boundary layer structures and airflow patterns observed around Lake Tekapo. Some initial results derived from the special observation periods are used to illustrate progress made to date. In spite of the difficulties involved in obtaining good data and undertaking modeling experiments in such complex terrain, initial results show that surface thermal heterogeneity has a significant influence on local atmospheric structure and wind fields in the vicinity of the lake. This influence occurs particularly in the morning. However, dynamic channeling effects and the larger-scale thermal effect of the mountain region frequently override these more local features later in the day.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Mar 26, 2003
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