Articles | Volume 15, issue 12
Research article
16 Jun 2015
Research article |  | 16 Jun 2015

Influence of along-valley terrain heterogeneity on exchange processes over idealized valleys

J. S. Wagner, A. Gohm, and M. W. Rotach

Abstract. Idealized numerical simulations of thermally driven flows over various valley–plain topographies are performed under daytime conditions. Valley floor inclination and narrowing valley cross sections are systematically varied to study the influence of along-valley terrain heterogeneity on the developing boundary layer structure, as well as horizontal and vertical transport processes. Valley topographies with inclined valley floors of 0.86° increase upvalley winds by a factor of about 1.9 due to smaller valley volumes (volume effect) and by a factor of about 1.6 due to additional upslope buoyancy forces. Narrowing the valley cross section by 20 km per 100 km along-valley distance increases upvalley winds by a factor of about 2.6. Vertical mass fluxes out of the valley are strongly increased by a factor between 1.8 and 2.8 by narrowing the valley cross sections and by a factor of 1.2 by inclining the valley floor. Trajectory analysis shows intensified horizontal transport of parcels from the foreland into the valley within the boundary layer in cases with inclined floors and narrowing cross sections due to increased upvalley winds.

Final-revised paper