COASTAL METEOROLOGY

A REVIEW OF THE STATE OF THE SCIENCE

Panel on Coastal Meteorology

Committee on Meteorological Analysis, Prediction, and Research

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1992



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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science COASTAL METEOROLOGY A REVIEW OF THE STATE OF THE SCIENCE Panel on Coastal Meteorology Committee on Meteorological Analysis, Prediction, and Research Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1992

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided jointly by the Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Office, the U.S. Army Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Waterways Experiment Station), the U.S. Coast Guard (R&D Center), and the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research under Grant No. N00014-90-J-4138. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 91-68266 International Standard Book Number 0-309-04687-4 Copyright 1992 by the National Academy of Sciences S534 First Printing, June 1992 Second Printing, August 1992 Copies of this report are available from: NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418 Printed in the United States of America Cover photo: The United States at night: From 250 miles above the earth, lights of cities and towns outline densely populated coasts. Complex weather created by adjoining water and land surfaces affects over 100 million people in the United States. Photo courtesy of the Air Force Global Weather Central and the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science PANEL ON COSTAL METEOROLOGY RICHARD ROTUNNO (Chair), National Center for Atmospheric Research JUDITH A. CURRY, Pennsylvania State University CHRISTOPHER W. FAIRALL, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration CARL A. FRIEHE, University of California, Irvine WALTER A. LYONS, Colorado State University JAMES E. OVERLAND, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ROGER A. PIELKE, Colorado State University DAVID P. ROGERS, Scripps Institution of Oceanography STEVEN A. STAGE, Florida State University Panel Consultants GARY L. GEERNAERT, Office of Naval Research JOHN W. NIELSEN, Texas A&M University Staff WILLIAM A. SPRIGG, Staff Director

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science COMMITTEE ON METEOROLOGICAL ANALYSIS, PREDICTION, AND RESEARCH PETER V. HOBBS (Chair), University of Washington JAMES A. COAKLEY, Oregon State University DENNIS G. DEAVEN, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration FRANCO EINAUDI, National Aeronautics and Space Administration J. MICHAEL FRITSCH, Pennsylvania State University EARL E. GOSSARD, University of Colorado VIJAY K. GUPTA, University of Colorado DONALD R. JOHNSON, University of Wisconsin, Madison THOMAS W. SCHLATTER, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research LEONARD SNELLMAN, retired WARREN H. WHITE, Washington University Staff WILLIAM A. SPRIGG, Staff Director

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC AND CLIMATE JOHN A. DUTTON (Chair), Pennsylvania State University JON F. BARTHOLIC, Michigan State University E. ANN BERMAN, Tri-Space, Inc. RAFAEL L. BRAS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MOUSTAFA T. CHAHINE, California Institute of Technology ROBERT A. DUCE, Texas A&M University THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, AT&T Bell Laboratories DAVID D. HOUGHTON, University of Wisconsin, Madison EUGENIA KALNAY, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RICHARD S. LINDZEN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology SYUKURO MANABE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GERALD R. NORTH, Texas A&M University JAMES J. O'BRIEN, Florida State University JOANNE SIMPSON, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ex Officio Members ERIC J. BARRON, Pennsylvania State University PETER V. HOBBS, University of Washington CHARLES E. KOLB, Aerodyne Research, Inc. DONALD J. WILLIAMS, The Johns Hopkins University Staff WILLIAM A. SPRIGG, Staff Director

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES M. GORDON WOLMAN (Chair), The Johns Hopkins University ROBERT C. BEARDSLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution B. CLARK BURCHFIEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology PETER S. EAGLESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology HELEN M. INGRAM, University of Arizona GENE E. LIKENS, New York Botanical Garden SYUKURO MANABE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration JACK E. OLIVER, Cornell University PHILIP A. PALMER, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company FRANK L. PARKER, Vanderbilt University/Clemson University DUNCAN T. PATTEN, Arizona State University MAXINE L. SAVITZ, Allied Signal Aerospace Company LARRY L. SMARR, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign STEVEN M. STANLEY, The Johns Hopkins University SIR CRISPIN TICKELL, Radcliffe Observatory KARL K. TUREKIAN, Yale University IRVIN L. WHITE, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories Staff STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director JANICE E. MEHLER, Assistant Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative Officer CARLITA PERRY, Administrative Assistant ROBIN LEWIS, Senior Project Assistant

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science Preface The unique weather and climate of the coastal zone, where the very different properties of land and sea meet, strongly affect pollutant circulation, storm characteristics, air and sea current patterns, and local temperatures. Nearly half the U.S. population currently lives in coastal areas,1 and this number is expected to grow in the next 20 years from about 110 million to more than 127 million people. A better understanding of coastal meteorology would thus be of considerable benefit to the nation, since it affects air pollution and disaster preparedness; ocean pollution and safeguarding near-shore ecosystems; offshore oil exploration and drilling; military and merchant ship operations; and a host of other activities affecting commerce, industry, transportation, health, safety, recreation, and national defense. As a result of progress in several areas of meteorological research, as well as the development of new technologies, opportunities now exist for significant advances in both basic understanding and forecasting of a wide variety of important coastal meteorological phenomena. In recent years new in situ and remote sensing measuring techniques have become available that can be used to study and monitor coastal phenomena in considerable detail. Numerical models are now available with sufficiently small grid spacings to resolve many coastal meteorological events. Widespread availability of small but powerful computer workstations will permit both 1   Department of Commerce (1990), Fifty Years of Population Change Along the Nation's Coasts, 1960-2010, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, D.C., 41 pp.

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science research studies and operational forecasting of important weather phenomena along coastlines, many of which depend on specific aspects of local geography and topology. This report reviews the progress that has been made in recent years by the small research community engaged in studies of coastal meteorology. It is intended to guide researchers into those areas in which their efforts might be most productive. It should also alert policy makers, local and federal authorities, and private organizations to the new tools that are available for improving the safety and efficiency of operating in and managing coastal regions. Following a general introduction to the subject, this report reviews recent progress and current understanding of coastal meteorological phenomena, including land and sea breezes, coastal fronts, orographic effects, land-falling hurricanes, air quality, and coastal effects in the polar regions. Gaps in knowledge are identified, and recommendations for advancing basic understanding and applications are given at the end of each chapter. Final chapters address educational and human resource issues and highlight the new observational and modeling tools that can be brought to bear on coastal meteorological research and operations. On behalf of the Committee on Meteorological Analysis, Prediction, and Research, I wish to thank the panel members, particularly the panel's chairman, Richard Rotunno, for the outstanding job they have done in producing a report of value to both scientists and policy makers. Thanks are extended to Alan Weinstein of the Office of Naval Research for having the foresight to suggest this study and for recognizing the broad applications and interests in coastal meteorology among several federal agencies. Early collaboration with the Committee on the Coastal Ocean of the National Research Council's Ocean Studies Board in helping to form the panel is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are also extended to John S. Perry and Kenneth Bergman for initial staff support of the study and to William A. Sprigg for helping to guide the report to its completion. Peter V. Hobbs, Chairman Committee on Meteorological Analysis, Prediction, and Research

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   5 2   BOUNDARY LAYER PROCESSES   9     Current Understanding and Challenges   10     The Generic Atmospheric Boundary Layer   10     Surface Interactions   13     Internal Boundary Layers   15     The Inhomogeneous Atmospheric Boundary Layer   16     Boundary Layer Clouds   17     Summary and Conclusions   18 3   THERMALLY DRIVEN EFFECTS   19     The Land Breeze and the Sea Breeze   19     Coastal Fronts   26     Ice-Edge Boundaries   27     Summary and Conclusions   29 4   THE INFLUENCE OF OROGRAPHY   31     Introduction and Basic Parameters   31     Low Froude Number Flow: Trapped Phenomena   33     Isolated Response: Kelvin Wave and Gravity Current   33

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science     Damming   35     Gap Winds   36     Moderate Froude Number Flow   38     Katabatic and Other Local Winds   39     Summary and Conclusions   43 5   INTERACTIONS WITH LARGER-SCALE WEATHER SYSTEMS   45     Land-Falling Hurricanes   45     Polar and Arctic Lows   46     Hybrid Frontal Circulations and Winter Storms   47     Localized Latent Heat Release   48     Summary and Conclusions   49 6   THE INFLUENCE OF THE ATMOSPHERIC BOUNDARY LAYER ON THE COASTAL OCEAN   51     Coastal Processes   53     Local and Remote Wind Forcing   53     Ocean Fronts   54     Storms   55     Topography   56     Air-Sea Exchange Processes   57     Wind Stress, Heat Fluxes, and Trace Gas and Particulate Exchange   57     Coupled Interactions with the Planetary Boundary Layer   58     Summary and Conclusions   59 7   AIR QUALITY   63     Dispersion in the Coastal Zone   63     Developing Improved Dispersion Models   67     Summary and Conclusions   68 8   CAPABILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES   71     Observational Tools   71     In Situ Methods   71     Remote Sensing   74     Modeling Technology   78 9   EDUCATIONAL AND HUMAN RESOURCES   81     REFERENCES   85

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Coastal Meteorology: A Review of the State of the Science COASTAL METEOROLOGY A REVIEW OF THE STATE OF THE SCIENCE

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