A numerical modeling study of the propagation of idealized sea-breeze density currents Robinson, F en_US Patterson, M en_US Sherwood, Steven en_US 2021-11-25T12:29:57Z 2021-11-25T12:29:57Z 2013 en_US
dc.description.abstract Sea breezes are often modeled as a wave response to transient heating in a stratified environment. They occur, however, as density currents with well-defined fronts, the understanding of which rests primarily on experiments and theory that do not include the stratification within and above the current and the steady heat input at the land surface. These gaps are investigated here via a sequence of idealized 2D density current simulations, progressing from the simplest classical case to more realistic surface heating and stratification. In the classical situation where the entire horizontal density contrast is imposed initially, the front quickly attains a constant speed determined by traditional formulas based on the density contrast across the front and the current depth, or by the amount of heat needed to produce it from an initially barotropic fluid. However, these diagnostic and prognostic tools fail completely if the current is driven by a gradual input of heat, analogous to a real sea-breeze situation. In this case the current accelerates slowly at first, remaining much slower than would be expected based on classical formulas. The motion of a classical density current is mostly inertial, with accelerations occurring at the current head; while in the continuously heated case, the entire current accelerates, requiring interior body forces to develop slowly owing to heating of the density current itself. This explains why observed sea-breeze fronts propagate more slowly than predicted from classical formulas, and may help to explain why larger landmasses, where fronts have more time to accelerate, often experience stronger convective storms when triggered by sea-breeze effects. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0022-4928 en_US
dc.language English
dc.language.iso EN en_US
dc.rights CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.source Legacy MARC en_US
dc.subject.other Sea breeze. en_US
dc.subject.other Sea breeze density. en_US
dc.subject.other Density currents. en_US
dc.subject.other Sea currents. en_US
dc.subject.other Waves. en_US
dc.subject.other Sea-breeze fronts. en_US
dc.title A numerical modeling study of the propagation of idealized sea-breeze density currents en_US
dc.type Journal Article en
dcterms.accessRights open access
dspace.entity.type Publication en_US
unsw.description.publisherStatement © Copyright (2013) American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at ( or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or en_US
unsw.identifier.doiPublisher en_US
unsw.relation.faculty Science
unsw.relation.ispartofissue 2 en_US
unsw.relation.ispartofjournal Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences en_US
unsw.relation.ispartofpagefrompageto 653-668 en_US
unsw.relation.ispartofvolume 70 en_US
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Robinson, F en_US
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Patterson, M en_US
unsw.relation.originalPublicationAffiliation Sherwood, Steven, Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC), Faculty of Science, UNSW en_US School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences *
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