Expansion of a holepunch cloud by a gravity wave front

AMS Citation:
Muraki, D. J., R. Rotunno, and H. Morrison, 2016: Expansion of a holepunch cloud by a gravity wave front. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 73, 693-707, doi:10.1175/JAS-D-15-0211.1.
Date:2016-02-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Expansion of a holepunch cloud by a gravity wave front
Abstract: A holepunch cloud is a curious phenomenon where a disturbance in a thin cloud layer initiates an expanding circular hole of clear air. Usually triggered by the passage of aircraft, observations of these holes in clouds date back to the earliest days of aviation, but only recently has a holepunch cloud been simulated within a full-physics numerical model. These computations confirm that ice crystal growth through the Wegener–Bergeron–Findeisen process creates a small cloud-free region whose subsequent outward spread defines the holepunch. The mechanics behind this continued expansion, however, has yet to be definitively identified. In this article, the motion of the cloud edge is explained as a propagating gravity wave front. To support this idea, a hierarchy of three idealizations is analyzed: a full-physics numerical model, a fluid mechanical model with simplified moisture effects, and a conservation law analysis for front motion. The essence of the holepunch cloud is established to be a moist air layer that is unsaturated (clear) and weakly stratified within the hole but saturated (cloudy) and moist neutral outside of it. The cloud edge thus represents a barrier to the outward propagation of gravity waves within the clear air--the result of this collision is a wave front whose velocity determines the growth rate of the hole.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2016 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be "fair use" under Section 107 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 USC, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the Society's permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form on servers, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statements, requires written permission or license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policies, available from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or amspubs@ametsoc.org. Permission to place a copy of this work on this server has been provided by the AMS. The AMS does not guarantee that the copy provided here is an accurate copy of the published work.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7qr4zp9
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/JAS-D-15-0211.1
Author(s):
  • David Muraki
  • Richard Rotunno - NCAR/UCAR
  • Hugh Morrison - NCAR/UCAR
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