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Numerical Modelling of Convective Snow Bands in the Baltic Sea Area
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Convective snow bands develop commonly over the open water surface of lakes or seas when cold airgets advected from a continent. Enhanced heat and moisture fluxes from the comparatively warm waterbody trigger shallow convection and an unstable boundary layer builds up. Relatively strong wind canorganize this convection into wind-parallel quasi-stationary cloud bands with moving individual cells.Depending on various factors like the horizontal wind, the vertical shear or the shape of the coast, thosecloud bands can form of different strength and structure. When the air mass meets the coast orographicforcing causes horizontal convergence and vertical lifting intensifies the precipitation at the coast. If thewind direction stays constant for several days a single snow band would accumulate its precipitation ina very restricted region and cause locally a significant increase in snow depth. This process leads in thecold season repeatedly to severe precipitation events at the Swedish east coast. Large amounts of snowalong with strong wind speeds can cause serious problems for traffic and infrastructure.Two different cases of convective snow bands in the Baltic Sea area were selected to simulate theassociated atmospheric conditions with a total of five different model systems. The atmosphere climatemodel RCA has been used independently at default settings as well as with increased resolution on avertical and a horizontal scale and furthermore coupled either to the ice-ocean model NEMO or the wavemodel component WAM.Comparing all models the crucial parameters like wind, temperature, heat fluxes, and precipitationvary generally in a reasonable range. However, the model systems show systematical differences amongthemselves. The strongest 10 meter wind speeds can be observed for both RCA models with increasedresolution. The RCA-WAM simulation shows its wind enhancement during the snow band event witha time shift to the other models by several hours. The mean directional wind shear above the Gulf ofBothnia, the snow band’s region of origin, is for all models small. The warmest sea surface temperaturesare reached by the RCA-NEMO simulation, which as a result also stands out for its most intense heatfluxes in both sensible and latent heat. Both high resolution RCA models as well as RCA-NEMO givethe most remarkable local precipitation rates. The original RCA and RCA-WAM simulate significantlyless snowfall. Local comparison with SMHI station measurements show that the models represent thetrend of wind, temperature and precipitation evolution well. However, all models decelerate the air masstoo rapidly when meeting the coast. Moreover, it remains a challenge to simulate the exact time andlocation of the extreme precipitation.The coupling of the atmosphere model with the ice-ocean model as well as the increased resolution ofthe atmospheric component have been observed to show great improvements in the model performanceand are suggested for future research work to be used in combination with each other for the regionalmodelling of convective snow bands in the Baltic Sea area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 353
Keyword [en]
Shallow convection, extreme precipitation, Baltic Sea, SST, regional climate system modelling
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-282525OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-282525DiVA: diva2:917182
Subject / course
Educational program
Master Programme in Physics
Available from: 2016-04-08 Created: 2016-04-05 Last updated: 2016-04-08Bibliographically approved

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