Comparison of analytical descriptions of nocturnal low-level jets with the Ekman model framework


This study focuses on the inertial oscillation aspect of the nocturnal low-level jet (NLLJ). In the context of the Ekman model solutions, conceptual NLLJ inertial oscillation analytical frameworks proposed by Blackadar in 1957 and Shapiro and Fedorovich and van de Wiel et al. in 2010 are compared. Considering a NLLJ produced via direct numerical simulation over flat terrain with no baroclinic influence as a reference case, the deficiencies of each framework in representing a realistic NLLJ are assessed. The Blackadar theory results in unrealistic wind profiles near the surface. While extensions of Blackadar’s framework by Shapiro and Fedorovich and van de Wiel et al. produce more realistic NLLJs, the simpler approach taken by van de Wiel et al. does not describe the NLLJ wind hodograph at later times sufficiently in qualitative terms.

Environmental Fluid Mechanics, 17, 485–495
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Dr. Elizabeth N. Smith
Dr. Elizabeth N. Smith
Research Meteorologist

Elizabeth joined NSSL as a research meteorologist in January 2020, where she focuses on boundary-layer processes relevant to near- and pre-storm environments and convection initiation.