Dynamics of the Low-Level Jet off the West Coast of Subtropical South America

Ricardo C. Muñoz, RenéD. Garreaud
2005 Monthly Weather Review  
The subtropical west coast of South America is under the influence of the southeast Pacific anticyclone year-round, which induces persistent southerly winds along the coast of north-central Chile. These winds often take the form of a low-level coastal jet, in many aspects similar to the coastal jet existing off the California coast. Extensive diagnostics of mesoscale model results for a case in October 2000 are used here to describe the mean momentum budget supporting the coastal jet. The jet
more » ... stal jet. The jet appears to occur when midlatitude synoptic conditions induce a northerly directed pressure gradient force along the coast of northcentral Chile. The very steep coastal terrain precludes the development of a significant easterly low-level wind that would geostrophically balance the pressure gradient. Instead, the meridional flow accelerates until turbulent friction in the marine boundary layer balances the meridional pressure gradient. The resulting force balance is semigeostrophic, with geostrophy valid only in the zonal (cross shore) direction. At higher levels, the topographic inhibition of the easterlies relaxes, and a small easterly flow ensues, which turns out to be very important in the temperature and stability budgets of the layer capping the marine boundary layer.
doi:10.1175/mwr3074.1 fatcat:qfghvgekfzdi3f57fwwjwchfvu