A numerical study of barotropic vortex motion near a large-scale mountain range with application to the motion of tropical cyclones approaching the Sierra Madre

Joseph A. Zehnder, Michael J. Reeder

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23 Citations (Scopus)


The motion of an idealized vortex near a large-scale mountain range is examined by numerically integrating the single-layer shallow-water equations on an equatorial beta plane. Modification of the asymmetric circulation by divergent vorticity generation as the air is forced across the ridge greatly affects the motion of the vortex Attention is focused on the role of the vortex structure, the mountain-range width and orientation, and the stratification of the model atmosphere in influencing the motion of the vortex. A scale analysis is used to explain the sensitivity of the vortex track to changes in the model's external parameters. The sensitivity of the model vortex track to the slope and orientation of the mountain range is used to help explain some features of the observed tracks of hurricanes that make landfall on the east coast of Mexico.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalMeteorology and Atmospheric Physics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997

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