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Wind and Structures
  Volume 26, Number 3, March 2018 , pages 147-161
DOI: https://doi.org/10.12989/was.2018.26.3.147
 


Evolution and scaling of a simulated downburst-producing thunderstorm outflow
Christopher Oreskovic, Eric Savory, Juliette Porto and Leigh G. Orf

 
Abstract
    For wind engineering applications downbursts are, presently, almost exclusively modeled, both experimentally and numerically, as transient impinging momentum jets (IJ), even though that model contains none of the physics of real events. As a result, there is no connection between the IJ-simulated downburst wind fields and the conditions of formation of the event. The cooling source (CS) model offers a significant improvement since it incorporates the negative buoyancy forcing and baroclinic vorticity generation that occurs in nature. The present work aims at using large-scale numerical simulation of downburst-producing thunderstorms to develop a simpler model that replicates some of the key physics whilst maintaining the relative simplicity of the IJ model. Using an example of such a simulated event it is found that the non-linear scaling of the velocity field, based on the peak potential temperature (and, hence, density) perturbation forcing immediately beneath the storm cloud, produces results for the radial location of the peak radial outflow wind speeds near the ground, the magnitude of that peak and the time at which the peak occurs that match well (typically within 5%) of those produced from a simple axi-symmetric constant-density dense source simulation. The evolution of the downdraft column within the simulated thunderstorm is significantly more complex than in any axi-symmetric model, with a sequence of downdraft winds that strengthen then weaken within a much longer period (>17 minutes) of consistently downwards winds over almost all heights up to at least 2,500 m.
 
Key Words
    downburst; CM1 cloud model; thunderstorm; numerical modeling
 
Address
Christopher Oreskovic and Eric Savory: Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, University of Western Ontario, Canada
Juliette Porto: Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l
 

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