Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 45–65

Roll Vortices and Boundary-Layer Development during a Cold Air Outbreak


  • Jörg Hartmann
    • Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung
  • Christoph Kottmeier
    • Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung
    • Faehbereich PhysikUniversität Bremen
  • Siegfried Raasch
    • Insitut für Meteorologie und Klimatologie der Universität Hannover

DOI: 10.1023/A:1000392931768

Cite this article as:
Hartmann, J., Kottmeier, C. & Raasch, S. Boundary-Layer Meteorology (1997) 84: 45. doi:10.1023/A:1000392931768


The development of the boundary layer during a cold air outbreak in the FramStrait is documented by aircraft measurements. The convection was organisedinto roll vortices with aspect ratios increasing from 2.9 near the ice edgeto more than 6 at 100 km further downstream. This increase coincides with anincrease of the latent heat release in the cloud layer. The stability parameter-zi/L varies from about zero at the ice edge to 30 at a distance of 200 kmdownstream over open water where the satellite picture still shows cloudstreets. The increase is mainly due to the deepening of the boundary layer.The turbulent vertical sensible and latent heat fluxes near the surface amountto 400 W m-2 within a 300 km off-ice zone. 25% of the upward heat fluxin the subcloud layer is carried out by organised roll motions. Experimentswith a 2-dimensional non-hydrostatic model show a similar roll aspect ratio inthe first 50 km, but further downstream where condensational heating is moreimportant the modelled roll wavelengths are distinctly smaller than the observedones.

Boundary-Layer developmentVortex rollsCold air outbreak
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997