Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 307–325 | Cite as

The Impact of Different Terrain Configurations on the Formation and Dynamics of Katabatic Flows: Idealised Case Studies

  • K. TrachteEmail author
  • T. Nauss
  • J. Bendix
Open Access


Impacts of different terrain configurations on the general behaviour of idealised katabatic flows are investigated in a numerical model study. Various simplified terrain models are applied to unveil modifications of the dynamics of nocturnal cold drainage of air as a result of predefined topographical structures. The generated idealised terrain models encompass all major topographical elements of an area in the tropical eastern Andes of southern Ecuador and northern Peru, and the adjacent Amazon. The idealised simulations corroborate that (i) katabatic flows develop over topographical elements (slopes and valleys), that (ii) confluence of katabatic flows in a lowland basin with a concave terrainline occur, and (iii) a complex drainage flow system regime directed into such a basin can sustain the confluence despite varying slope angles and slope distances.


Confluence Katabatic flows Numerical simulation Terrain configuration 



The authors are indebted to the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the funding of the work in the scope of the Research Unit RU816 ‘Biodiversity and Sustainable Management of a Megadiverse Mountain Ecosystem in South Ecuador’, sub projects B3.1 and Z1.1 (BE 1780/15-1, NA 783/1-1).

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Climatology and Remote Sensing (LCRS), Faculty of GeographyUniversity of MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Climatology, University of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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