, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 295-308

Wind shear at tilted inversions

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Vertical wind shear at a temperature inversion can be caused by baroclinicity associated with a tilt of the inversion. Four observational cases of tilted inversions are presented. The tilts on horizontal scales of 20–100 km range from 2–10 × 10-3 and the vertical wind shear is between 1 and 25 m/s per 100 m. In general, there is remarkable agreement between observed and geostrophic wind shear.

The observations show that the inversion tilt is particularly strong at the edges of mesoscale cloud fields. The Richardson number can reach subcritical values. Cloud fields may be surrounded by a cyclonically rotating wind field and cloud gaps by an anticyclonically rotating wind field.