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Some Info About Orographic Enhancement?

I'm looking for some pretty basic info on orographic enhancement specifically, or even more detailed info would be great if it's understandable! maybe with diagrams etc, as I'm interested in it and researching it, but I can't seem to find a good website with the right info etc.

can anyone tell me a good definition, or how it works, or post some links?

thanks :)

7 Answers

  • UALog
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, the basics. Orographic lift will occur when flowing air encounters a barrier that blocks its path forward. The best example of this is when moving air encounters a tall mountain range. In order for the flowing air to get past this is a mountain range, the air must go up and over the crest.

    Anytime you have rising parcel of air, the parcel start to cool. If this process continues, the air will cool to point where the air will become saturated. Clouds will then start to build along the windward side of a mountain range. Any more cooling and will likely get precipitation.

    In a orographic enhanced precipitation event, the air that is moving towards the side of the mountain range is already saturated and may be already precipitating. So by forcing the air to move over the mountain, The additional lift will increase the intensity of the precipitation to a degree. However, the enhancement can vary greatly with each storm event. So it is important to understand what makes an event a strong orographic event and what makes one a weak orographic event. Since, there are so many factors and some would be very difficult for me to explain in this type of "yahoo Answer" format, I won't list them here. But if you research this topic, you will learn what those factors are.

    So, at your request, I think I have found some good links for you to start with..

  • 1 decade ago

    Hi there,

    Some of the fundamentals of orographic enhancement:

    Presuming you want to know about orographic enhancement of rainfall, the concept of the orography is very important! The fact that there is an impermeable barrier which air cannot flow through, or flow under, means that air is forced to rise. When air rises, it cools by adiabatic expansion, and if cooled sufficiently it will form clouds and rain, or cause an enhancement in the rain that may already be falling as more moisture is "wrung out" of the air.

    There are several factors which influence the degree of enhancement, but the big three that forecasters watch out for are:

    A flow that has a large component perpendicular to the peaks of the orography, which means that it is forced to rise as quickly as possible.

    A flow that is strong, the stronger the flow the more moisture will be released over a given amount of time.

    A flow that is warm and moist (characterised by values of 850hPa theta W of around 15 or more). The moister it is, the closer to saturation it is, and the larger the effect will be of lifting over orography. The warmer it is, the more moisture it will be able to hold in the first place, meaning more can be released.

    These conditions are most commonly found within the "warm conveyor belt" of storm systems, and in certain conditions can be responsible for widespread floodings, like the Cumbrian floods of last year.)

    Good Luck with your research! :)

  • 4 years ago

    Orographic Definition

  • coats
    Lv 4
    4 years ago


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