Numerical simulations of wind and temperature structure within an Alpine lake basin, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
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High-resolution numerical model simulations have been used to study the local and mesoscale thermal circulations in an Alpine lake basin. The lake (87 km2) is situated in the Southern Alps, New Zealand and is located in a glacially excavated rock basin surrounded by mountain ranges that reach 3000 m in height. The mesoscale model used (RAMS) is a three-dimensional non-hydrostatic model with a level 2.5 turbulence closure scheme. The model demonstrates that thermal forcing at local (within the basin) and regional (coast-to-basin inflow) scales drive the observed boundary-layer airflow in the lake basin during clear anticyclonic summertime conditions. The results show that the lake can modify (perturb) both the local and regional wind systems. Following sunrise, local thermal circulations dominate, including a lake breeze component that becomes embedded within the background valley wind system. This results in a more divergent flow in the basin extending across the lake shoreline. However, a closed lake breeze circulation is neither observed nor modelled. Modelling results indicate that in the latter part of the day when the mesoscale (coast-to-basin) inflow occurs, the relatively cold pool of lake air in the basin can cause the intrusion to decouple from the surface. Measured data provide qualitative and quantitative support for the model results.
KeywordsWind System Breeze Circulation Cold Pool Thermal Circulation Divergent Flow
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