Articles | Volume 11, issue 17
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 9323–9331, 2011
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 9323–9331, 2011

Research article 09 Sep 2011

Research article | 09 Sep 2011

Large-Eddy Simulation of a microburst

V. Anabor1, U. Rizza2,1, E. L. Nascimento1, and G. A. Degrazia1 V. Anabor et al.
  • 1Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Departamento de Física, Santa Maria, RS, Brazil
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, ISAC-CNR, Italy

Abstract. The three-dimensional structure and evolution of an isolated and stationary microburst are simulated using a time-dependent, high resolution Large-Eddy-Simulation (LES) model. The microburst is initiated by specifying a simplified cooling source at the top of the domain around 2 km a.g.l. that leads to a strong downdraft. Surface winds of the order of 30 m s−1 were obtained over a region of 500 m radius around the central point of the impinging downdraft, with the simulated microburst lasting for a few minutes. These characteristic length and time scales are consistent with results obtained from numerical simulations of microbursts using cloud-resolving models. The simulated flow replicated some of the principal features of microbursts observed by Doppler radars: in particular, the horizontal spread of strong surface winds and a ring vortex at the leading edge of the cold outflow. In addition to the primary surface outflow, the simulation also generated a secondary surge of strong winds that appears to represent a pulsation in the microburst evolution.

These results highlight the capability of LES to reproduce complex phenomena like microbursts, indicating the potential usage of LES models to represent atmospheric phenomena of time and space scales between the convective scale and the microscale. These include short-lived convectively-generated damaging winds.

Final-revised paper