Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 151, Issue 2, pp 353–371 | Cite as

Seasonal Cycle of the Near-Surface Diurnal Wind Field Over the Bay of La Paz, Mexico

Article

Abstract

The results of numerical simulations of the troposphere over the Bay of La Paz, calculated for the months of January, April, July and October during the period 2006–2010 with the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF v3.5) regional model, are used to describe the seasonal features of the diurnal cycle of planetary boundary-layer winds. Two distinct near-surface diurnal flows with strong seasonal variability were identified: (1) a nocturnal and matutinal breeze directed from the subtropical Pacific Ocean, over the Baja California peninsula and the Bay of La Paz, into the Gulf of California that is associated with the regional sea-surface temperature difference between those two major water bodies; and (2) a mid to late afternoon onshore sea-breeze related to the peninsula’s daily cycle of insolation heating that evolves with counter-clockwise rotation over the Bay of La Paz. The model results reveal the interaction over Baja California of opposing afternoon sea-breeze fronts that originate from the subtropical Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California, with a convergence line forming over the peaks of the peninsula’s topography and the associated presence of a closed vertical circulation cell over the Bay of La Paz and the adjacent Gulf. The collision of the opposing sea-breeze fronts over the narrow peninsula drives convection that is relatively weak due to the reduced heat source and only appears to produce precipitation sporadically. The spatial structure of the sea-breeze fronts over the Bay of La Paz region is complex due to shoreline curvature and nearby topographic features. A comparison of the numerical results with available meteorological near-surface observations indicates that the modelling methodology adequately reproduced the observed features of the seasonal variability of the local planetary boundary-layer diurnal wind cycle and confirms that the low-level atmospheric circulation over the Bay of La Paz is dominated by kinetic energy in the diurnal band. The strongest (weakest) diurnal flows occur during the summer (winter) in response to the seasonally varying magnitudes of the daily land–sea thermal contrast and the regional subtropical Pacific Ocean–Gulf of California sea-surface temperature difference.

Keywords

Diurnal cycle Gulf of California Regional atmospheric modelling Sea-breeze Sea-surface temperature contrast Seasonal variability 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Oceanografía FísicaCentro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de EnsenadaEnsenadaMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de OceanologíaCentro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas–Instituto Politécnico NacionalLa PazMexico

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