The Lagrangian and Eulerian structure and dynamics of a strong wind event in the Tokar Gap region are described using a Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model hindcast for 2008. Winds in the Tokar Gap reach 25 m s−1 and remain coherent as a jet far out over the Red Sea, whereas equally strong wind jets occurring in neighboring gaps are attenuated abruptly by jump-like hydraulic transitions that occur just offshore of the Sudan coast. The transition is made possible by the supercritical nature of the jets, which are fed by air that spills down from passes at relatively high elevation. By contrast, the spilling flow in the ravine-like Tokar Gap does not become substantially supercritical and therefore does not undergo a jump, and also carries more total horizontal momentum. The Tokar Wind Jet carries some air parcels across the Red Sea and into Saudi Arabia, whereas air parcel trajectories in the neighboring jets ascend as they cross through the jumps, then veer sharply to the southeast and do not cross the Red Sea. The mountain parameter Nh/U is estimated to lie in the range of 1.0–4.0 for the general region, a result roughly consistent with a gap jet having a long extension, and supercritical flows spilling down from higher elevation passes. The strong event is marked by the formation of a feature with a vertical cellular structure in the upstream entrance region of the Tokar Gap, a feature absent from the more moderate events that occur throughout the summer. The cell contains descending air parcels that are fed into the Tokar Gap and one of the neighboring gaps. An analysis of the Bernoulli function along air parcel trajectories reveals an approximate balance between the loss of potential energy and gain of internal energy and pressure, with surprisingly little contribution from kinetic energy, along the path of the descending flow. The winds in all gaps attain the critical wind speed nominally required to loft dust into the atmosphere, though only the Tokar Gap has a broad, silty delta region capable of supplying particulate matter for dust storms.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Oct 29 2020|
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-05-25
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): CRG6-2017-3408
Acknowledgements: This study is part of a joint research project by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and was funded by KAUST. Support for Albright was provided by the National Science Foundation under Grant (OCE-0525729). Additional support for Pratt came from KAUST through award CRG6-2017-3408.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.