The Dynamics of Northwest Summer Winds over the Santa Barbara Channel Public Deposited

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  • A mesoscale model is used to examine the dynamics of northwest flow over the Santa Barbara Channel region. Three cases are considered, each characterized by typical summertime synoptic conditions, but with differences in pressure gradient strength and marine boundary layer depth (MBL). The first case examines a relatively deep MBL and strong pressure gradient. Case 2 is characterized by a more shallow MBL and weaker pressure gradient, and case 3 represents a transition from a deep MBL to shallow conditions. In all cases, simulated surface winds show reasonable agreement with observations over most of the model domain, with the exception of regions near abrupt terrain changes. Results from the model indicate that the flow with a deep MBL (~400 m) and strong pressure gradient (case 1) is supercritical, causing regions of acceleration and expansion in the lee of Point Conception. When the MBL is shallow (~150 m) (case 2), a transcritical flow scenario exists with subcritical flow upstream from Point Conception and a supercritical flow region over the Santa Barbara Channel and downstream from the Channel Islands. Flow over the channel is strongly affected by diurnal heating in shallow MBL cases, reversing direction in step with a land breeze circulation induced by nighttime cooling. The land breeze forces an internal wave disturbance that propagates westward across the channel, eliminating the supercritical flow region in the lee of Point Conception. Conditions with a deep MBL (~400 m) produce less variability in the surface winds, except for the region sheltered by the Santa Ynez Mountains. An expansion fan is still evident in this case, but it is produced by the interaction of the flow with higher terrain north and east of the channel. The low hills on Point Conception and the Channel Islands do not have a large blocking effect on the surface flow when the MBL is deep. Analysis of the momentum budget supports the conclusion that the boundary layer behaves like a transcritical hydraulic flow when the MBL is shallow. Except for the open ocean region, the Coriolis term is minor in comparison with the pressure and advection terms. Diurnal heating effects are evident in the nearshore pressure term, which varies from offshore during the late evening to onshore in the afternoon. These effects are most significant when the MBL is shallow and can augment the hydraulically forced pressure pattern, causing a stronger expansion fan in the late afternoon and a collapse of the expansion fan during the early morning.
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  • Skyllingstad, Eric D., Philip Barbour, Clive E. Dorman, 2001: The Dynamics of Northwest Summer Winds over the Santa Barbara Channel. Monthly Weather Review, 129(5), 1042–1061.
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  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2011-12-19T21:32:53Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 SkyllingstadEricD.CEOAS.TheDynamicsNorthwest.pdf: 710010 bytes, checksum: e85e7b1ffd88ccb369c6cde3eb8e5381 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2001-05
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Sue Kunda(sue.kunda@oregonstate.edu) on 2011-12-19T21:32:52Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 SkyllingstadEricD.CEOAS.TheDynamicsNorthwest.pdf: 710010 bytes, checksum: e85e7b1ffd88ccb369c6cde3eb8e5381 (MD5)
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