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The diurnal circulation of Zugspitzplatt: observations and modeling

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Abstract:

Zugspitzplatt is a gently sloping plateau in the Wetterstein massif with a steep eastward oriented slope which leads down to the narrow and deep Reintal. Such combinations of plateaus and valleys are ubiquitous in the Alps. A field campaign has been conducted and a surface station has been installed to observe the diurnal circulation of this plateau. Nocturnal outflow as well as an inflow of a few hundred meters depth during the day are found at the eastern edge of the plateau on fair weather days. A rather extreme decrease of the dew point tends to occur during outflow late in the night. This indicates that air from relatively large heights descends down to the plateau to flow over the edge. Simulations with a mesoscale model have been performed for the days of the field campaign. The model is capable of simulating successfully the trajectories of the pilot balloons released near the edge. The model calculations suggest that the inflow towards the plateau during the day ascends from Reintal and includes air from outside the Wetterstein massif. This inflow normally reaches the western end of Zugspitzplatt.



Das Zugspitzplatt ist eine sanft geneigte Hochebene im Wettersteingebirge mit einer Steilstufe im Osten, die in das tiefe und enge Reintal hinabfu¨hrt. Solche Paarungen von Hochebenen und Ta¨lern sind in den Alpen ha¨ufig zu finden. Zur Erforschung des Tagesgangs der Zirkulation des Zugspitzplatts wurden eine Meßkampagne durchgefu¨hrt und eine Bodenstation errichtet. Am o¨stlichen Rande der Hochebene wurde sowohl na¨chtliches Ausstro¨men als auch Einstro¨men untertags in einer Schicht von einigen hundert Metern Dicke an Scho¨nwettertagen beobachtet. Ha¨ufig tritt gegen Morgen eine starke Abnahme des Taupunkts in der Phase des Ausstro¨mens auf. Dies deutet darauf hin, daß Luft aus relativ großer Ho¨he zum Zugspitzplatt absteigt, um dann nach Osten abzufließen. Ein mesoskaliges Modell wird herangezogen, um die Stro¨mungsentwicklung an den Meßtagen zu simulieren. Das Modell bewa¨hrt sich bestens bei der Nachrechnung der Trajektorien von Pilotballonen, die am Ostrand des Platts aufgestiegen sind. Die Modellrechnungen legen nahe, daß der Zustrom zum Platt untertags vom Reintal aufsteigt und Luft mitfu¨hrt, die von außerhalb des Wettersteinmassivs stammt. Diese hangaufwa¨rts gerichtete Stro¨mung erreicht normalerweise den westlichen Rand des Zugspitzplatts.

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Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/0941-2948/2003/0012-0095

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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  • Meteorologische Zeitschrift (originally founded in 1866) is the joint periodical of the meteorological societies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It accepts high-quality peer-reviewed manuscripts on all aspects of observational, theoretical and computational research out of the entire field of meteorology, including climatology. Meteorologische Zeitschrift represents a natural forum for the meteorological community of Central Europe and worldwide.
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