Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 65, Issue 1–2, pp 113–131 | Cite as

The synoptic setting of a thundery low and associated prefrontal squall line in western Europe

  • A. van Delden


A case study of a thundery low and associated prefrontal squall line in western Europe is presented. It is shown that the prefrontal squall line is linked to the vertical circulation associated with an intensifying cold front and a propagating midtropospheric jetstreak, with maximum wind speeds at levels between 700 and 500 hPa. The squall line is triggered in the updraught of the cross-frontal circulation, which can be observed at the earth's surface as a line of mass convergence or confluence stretching for more than 1000 km from southern Iberia to northern France. The intensification of the front and the destabilization of the atmosphere are interpreted by using the slope of isentropes as indicator of frontal intensity. An equation is derived for the rate of change of frontal intensity, which predicts a forward tilt of the cold front with increasing height due to the cross-frontal circulation in the area of warm air advection (the so-called Spanish plume) and, associated with this, a destabilization of the atmosphere at midtropospheric levels.


Waste Water Europe Wind Speed Water Pollution Advection 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. van Delden
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research UtrechtUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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