AbstractWith the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model specifically configured to simulate the intensification and evolution of an extratropical baroclinic wave, this study first investigates why cold fronts are characteristically longer, narrower and more intense than warm fronts in the extratropical atmosphere. It is found that the differential thermal advection by the geostrophic and ageostrophic wind components in the two frontal regions results in a greater thermal contrast across the cold front. The length of the cold front is essentially the length scale of the intensifying baroclinic wave (i.e. of the order of radius of deformation). The frontal system as a whole moves eastward under the influence of a steering flow. In addition, the cold front outpaces the warm front eastward, making the western portion of the warm front progressively occluded and the eastern portion of the warm front shorter. The dynamical processes tend to move the cold front eastward, whereas the diabatic heating processes tend to move it westward, contributing to the narrowness of the cold front.This study also investigates whether, how, and why an upper-level front (ULF) would synergistically interact with a surface front (SF). It is found that a favorable circumstance for such interaction to occur in an observed extratropical cyclone and in the WRF model simulation is when the ULF and SF are roughly parallel to one another with the ULF aloft located a few hundred kilometers to the west of the SF. The relative importance of the “forcing” for the ageostrophic circulation associated with the geostrophic circulation, diabatic heating and friction are diagnosed in such interaction.
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jun 26, 2017
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