A numerical study of atmospheric Kàrmàn vortex shedding from Jeju Island

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Junshi Ito, The Univ. of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan and Hiroshi Niino, Atmos. and Ocean Res. Inst., The Univerisity of Tokyo, Chiba, Japan
Kàrmàn vortex shading universally occurs when a uniform flow pasts a bluff body. Similar vortex shading occurs when an atmospheric flow hits an isolated mountain, and can be seen in satellite images when the vortices are accompanied by clouds. While previous idealized numerical studies have focused on the mechanism of the atmospheric Kàrmàn vortex shading, there has been no simulation for a real case.

In this study, a meso-scale non-hydrostatic model developed by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) is used to reproduce the observed Kàrmàn vortex shedding, where initial and boundary conditions are given by the meso-scale objective analysis data of the JMA. The cases investigated here occurred on 16 and 20 February 2013 when satellite images clearly capture Kàrmàn vortex shading behind the Jeju Island over the East China sea. The size of simulation’s domain is about 800 km by 1200 km in the horizontal direction, and the Jeju Island locates the center of the domain. The horizontal gird interval is 2 km. The cloud microphysics including the ice phase is considered.

The numerical simulation successfully reproduced realistic Kàrmàn vortex shading which accompany characteristic clouds in the wake of the Jeju Island (see Figure; shading show mixing ratio of cloud water). The size of the vortices and there intervals appear to be comparable to those observed by the satellite.

The winter monsoon flows out from Eurasia continent over the Yellow sea, which is 10 K warmer than the atmosphere, obtain much sensible and latent heat flux, and then a convective boundary layer is developed. Necessary conditions to form lee vortices proposed in previous studies are indeed satisfied: (1) the height of the convective boundary layer is lower than that of the mountain, and (2) the Froude number above the convective boundary layer is less than 0.4. The environment around the region in the wintertime is favorable for forming Kàrmàn vortex shading.

The pressure depressions associated with the vortices formed above the convective boundary layer induce updrafts from the convective mixed layer to the core of the vortices. The uplifted moist air condensed at the core of vortices visualizes the vortex shading.