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Occurrence of Kelvin-Helmholtz Billows in Sea-breeze Circulations

By Robert Stephen Plant and G.J. Keith

Abstract

Centred at the interface between the sea-breeze and the return flow aloft, Kelvin-Helmholtz billows (KHB) are an important feature of the turbulent structure of some sea-breeze circulations (SBCs). In other SBCs, there are no prominent KHBs observed. Factors governing the appearance of billows are determined from a database of 139 sea breezes, constructed from two years of summertime surface observations at a site on the south coast of England. Post-frontal oscillations occur in the surface data for some SBCs and are interpreted as indicating possible KHBs aloft. The SBCs are formed under a wide range of synoptic conditions, enabling various measures of possible billow occurrence to be related to properties of the large-scale, ambient flow. Consistent with laboratory experiments of density currents, KHBs are suppressed for propagation into a head wind and enhanced with a tail wind. They are also found to be enhanced for stronger ambient wind speeds, while large-scale coast-parallel flow is effective in suppressing the billows

Topics: 551
Publisher: Springer
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:787

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