Mahoney K. M., G. M. Lackmann and M. D. Parker (October 2009): The Role of Momentum Transport in the Motion of a Quasi-Idealized Mesoscale Convective System. Mon. Weather Rev., 137 (10), 3316-3338. doi:10.1175/2009MWR2895.1

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Abstract

Momentum transport is examined in a simulated midlatitude mesoscale convective system (MCS) to investigate its contribution to MCS motion. Momentum budgets are computed using model output to quantify the role of specific processes in determining the low-level wind field in the system’s surface-based cold pool. Results show that toward the leading convective line of the MCS and near the leading edge of the cold pool, the momentum field is most strongly determined by the vertical advection of the storm-induced perturbation wind. Across the middle rear of the system, the wind field is largely a product of the pressure gradient acceleration and, to a lesser extent, the vertical advection of the background environmental (i.e., base state) wind. The relative magnitudes of the vertical advection terms in an Eulerian momentum budget suggest that, for gust-front-driven systems, downward momentum transport by the MCS is a significant driver of MCS motion and potentially severe surface winds. Results further illustrate that the contribution of momentum transport to MCS speed occurs mainly via the enhancement of the cold pool propagation speed as higher-momentum air from aloft is transported into the surface-based cold pool.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1175/2009MWR2895.1
URI: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/pubs/id/eprint/424