Mesoscale Circulation and Moisture Fluxes Associated with the North American Monsoon System.

NOAA WP-3D platform during NAME

Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2005 5:51 PM

PI: Michael Douglas, NSSL/NOAA

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In these Internet pages you can find plots of the observations collected by the NOAA WP-3D research aircraft during the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) that took place during July-August 2004 in the Northwestern Mexican region with emphasis in the Gulf of California. This component of the NAME was designed to address questions related to moisture flux variability that cannot be address by other observation systems deployed for NAME. The specific objectives are, in their order of priority during the experiment: mean moisture flux filed estimation over the NAME Tier I domain; vertical and horizontal variation of the low-level Jet, and the associated moisture flux variability; genesis of gulf surge events; and horizontal structure and evolution of the sea-mountain-valley breeze circulation.
 
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Flight Summaries

 

Date 2004
Emphasis
Hours UTC
07/08
Moisture Flux: The first NOAA P-3 flight was called to examine the low-level moisture fluxes into the southern part of the Gulf of California and to help determine the best pattern and operating altitudes for such missions.
Surge genesis/Moisture flux: investigate the possible genesis of a gulf surge (well-marked mid tropospheric easterly wave.)
Low-level Jet : Southerly winds were up the entire Gulf. The central gulf transects were the same as done during the previous two flights. Strong winds in the far northern Gulf, reaching 43 kts (1-sec data), with 34 kts winds at 500 ft above the surface. Strongest winds were close to Puerto Peñasco . Winds were also strong, to about 27 kts, over the central Gulf (west of Guaymas.)
07/18
Moisture flux flight (modified): Detailed flow structure around the southern part of the Baja California peninsula. Gap flow across the lowest part of the Peninsula near La Paz and the directional shift in the winds south of Cabo San Lucas. The effect of the significant SST gradient in this region on the depth of the PBL and its moistening was also of interest.
07/22
Moisture flux flight: The flight followed the flight track of the first flight on July 8th, with modifications to measure details of the flow around the tip of Baja California and a small additional leg near Kino Bay to describe the LLJ that was sampled. Overall, moderate LLJ conditions were observed over the central Gulf (~30-35+ kts at 950-990mb); this seemed associated with a decaying MCC that had occurred the night before over the central Gulf coastal plain.
07/ 23
Low-level Jet : Describe the LLJ that was forecast from Eta output, and observed the previous day. Weaker flow than the previous day but more uniformly up-Gulf (below 900mb). Mid-Gulf flow at 850mb and higher clearly shows a cyclonic vortex or cyclonic shear - a feature observed on various flights.
07/24
Moisture flux flight: Modified moisture flux flight, with additional legs over the northern Gulf to measure LLJ flow (weak). Strongest up-Gulf winds of about 20kts, but somewhat deeper and more Southeasterly than on previous 2 days. The region of cyclonic curvature over central Gulf evident on this flight as well. This flight, together with the previous two, occurring shortly after major MCC events over Sonora
Moisture flux and sea breeze: Unusually weak monsoonal flow up the Gulf of California. Sample the sea-breeze penetration along the eastern shore of the Gulf of California.
08/02
Sea-breeze and Moisture flux: A "non-typical" monsoon day, but in that sense. Interesting measures horizontal variations of the moisture flied across the Sierra Madre Oriental; measure the sea-land breeze circulation over the coastal plain and foothills of southern Sonora. The flight found very weak flow over the Gulf of California.
08/03
Surge genesis flight: Strong mesoscale convective complex south of Mazatlan. This flight described the cyclonic flow associated with a lower-mid tropospheric trough. In general, the flight was successful in capturing the synoptic environment of a major MCS complex over the lower Gulf and the subsequent surge-like feature.

 

Publication and Conferences

Mejia J.F. and M. Douglas, 2005: Mean structure and variability of the low-level jet across the central Gulf of California from NOAA WP-3D flight level observations during the North American Monsoon Experiment, Sixth Conference on Coastal Atmospheric and Oceanic Prediction and Processes (6COASTAL), 85th AMS Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, J 5.8.

 


Acknowledgment: The NOAA Office of Global Programs (OGP) provided funding for this project. The Aircraft Operations Center of NOAA is thanked for their professional activities and willingness to modify many of the flights on short notice.

Send comments or questions to John F Mejia : John.Mejia@noaa.gov

Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2005 5:51 PM