Cloud streets and land–water interactions in the Amazon
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- Ramos da Silva, R., Gandu, A.W., Sá, L.D.A. et al. Biogeochemistry (2011) 105: 201. doi:10.1007/s10533-011-9580-4
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Cloud streets are common feature in the Amazon Basin. They form from the combination of the vertical trade wind stress and moist convection. Here, satellite imagery, data collected during the COBRA-PARÁ (Caxiuanã Observations in the Biosphere, River and Atmosphere of Pará) field campaign, and high resolution modeling are used to understand the streets′ formation and behavior. The observations show that the streets have an aspect ratio of about 3.5 and they reach their maximum activity around 15:00 UTC when the wind shear is weaker, and the convective boundary layer reaches its maximum height. The simulations reveal that the cloud streets onset is caused by the local circulations and convection produced at the interfaces between forest and rivers of the Amazon. The satellite data and modeling show that the large rivers anchor the cloud streets producing a quasi-stationary horizontal pattern. The streets are associated with horizontal roll vortices parallel to the mean flow that organizes the turbulence causing advection of latent heat flux towards the upward branches. The streets have multiple warm plumes that promote a connection between the rolls. These spatial patterns allow fundamental insights on the interpretation of the Amazon exchanges between surface and atmosphere with important consequences for the climate change understanding.