The Low-Level Atmospheric Circulation near Tongoy Bay–Point Lengua de Vaca (Chilean Coast, 30°S)
Rahn, David A.
Garreaud, René D.
Rutllant, José A.
American Meteorological Society
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
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Strong southerly, terrain parallel winds often occur along the coast of north-central Chile (25°–35°S) embedded in the marine atmospheric boundary layer and the lower part of the capping temperature inversion. Their offshore structure and variability have received considerable attention because of the effect on open-ocean processes and connection with the southeast Pacific cloud layer. Mesoscale low-level circulations linked to the coastal topography (e.g., coastal jets and sea breeze) are less studied in Chile, but are particularly relevant as they alter the upper-ocean circulation and the cloud pattern in the nearshore strip.Surface, radiosonde, and airborne meteorological observations near point Lengua de Vaca (LdV)–Tongoy Bay (TB) at 30°S are used alongside numerical modeling to understand the local circulation near a prominent upwelling center. Most observations were gathered during the Variability of the American Monsoon Systems (VAMOS) Ocean–Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study Chilean Upwelling Experiment (VOCALS-CUpEx) during two weeks in late spring 2009. The regional topography resembles other major capes, but south of TB and east of LdV there is a low (100–300 m), dry marine terrace bounded by high elevation at the coast (~600 m) and farther inland. Coastal soundings 25 km upstream of LdV revealed a southerly wind maximum near the surface and another at 900 m separated by a destabilized layer, deviating from the two-layer model often applied to coastal flow. In the morning a shallow sea breeze penetrates from TB to the marine terrace, but is overridden by southerly flow in the afternoon. Furthermore, between 400 and 900 m, warm continental air is advected from over the marine terrace creating a residual boundary layer over TB. Concurrent with slower changes offshore, the low-level warming over TB leads to a marked cross-shore pressure gradient enhancing the coastal jet just north of LdV.
This is the publisher's version, also available electronically from http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/MWR-D-11-00059.1.
Rahn, David A.; Garreaud, René D.; Rutllant, José A. (2011). "The Low-Level Atmospheric Circulation near Tongoy Bay–Point Lengua de Vaca (Chilean Coast, 30°S)." Mon. Wea. Rev., 139(11):3628-3647. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-11-00059.1
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