, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 371-394

Thermal asymmetry and cross-valley circulation in a small alpine valley

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Abstract

Wind observations from a small Alpine valley are used to investigate the problem of cross-valley winds. The observed daytime windfield is a superposition of dynamically and thermally forced cross-winds. Prevailing cross-winds above the valley result in a recirculation cell above the lee slope. The return flow is strengthened or weakened by thermal effects which induce a wind that blows from the shaded to the sunny side of the valley. The reaction time of the thermally induced cross-winds is only 4 min. The horizontal and vertical motions of the cross-valley circulation transport heat in such a way that the insolation differences between the two sides of the valley are nearly equalized.