GoToMeeting Presentation on NW Flow Snow Simulations

I thought I’d post this here for wider distribution, and since the NW Flow Snow research efforts are a spin off of past CSTAR activities.

On Oct 26 at 1pm, Doug Miller (UNC-A) will be presenting a summary of his mesoscale simulation work on upstream influences in the boundary layer to NW Flow Snow in the Appalachians, titled:   “Near-term Effects of the Lower Atmosphere in Simulated Northwest Flow Snowfall Forced over the Southern Appalachians”.  At the bottom of this message is an abstract describing Doug’s project, and a general summary of his findings to be presented (the focus is on one particular significant event).

This will be provided via GoToMeeting (1 hr or less in duration), with the connection details as follows:

1. Please join my meeting, Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 1:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

2. Join the conference call:


Meeting ID: 588-325-258

Since this is a GoToMeeting instead of a Webinar, we are limited to 25 connections, so if you believe any colleagues/peers will also be joining participating from the same building, please try and share a connection.  Thanks, and hope you can join us on the 26th!

Steve Keighton, NWS Blacksburg, VA


Brief descriptions of the project and findings:

Northwest Flow Snowfall (NWFS) impacts the southern Appalachian Mountains after the upper-level trough has departed from the region, when moist northwesterly flow near the ground is lifted after encountering the mountains. Snowfall associated with these events is highly localized and challenging to predict as the clouds generating the accumulation are mesoscale in structure and depend on rapidly-varying structures of moisture, instability, and wind in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) and on the relief of local topography. The purpose of this study is to investigate the near-term impact of heat and moisture fluxes at the ground on the evolution of a NWFS event using several simulations of the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting mesoscale model.

Model simulations indicate that convective banding is responsible for the snowfall accumulations in the southern Appalachians during the event and the structure of the banding is sensitive to the vertical positions of maximum wind shear and minimal stability within the PBL. Sensible heat fluxes at the ground upstream of the mountains in the daytime tend to deepen the PBL, reduce cloud water content, and reduce snowfall accumulations. At the same time, however, the daytime sensible heating also increases the overall vapor of the PBL through increased turbulent mixing and the transport of vapor made available to the atmosphere through upward latent heat fluxes at the ground. Latent heat fluxes at the ground upstream of the southern Appalachian Mountains provide a source of moisture that contributes a significant fraction of the overall simulated snowfall accumulations.

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