Thermodynamic characteristics of air masses along the Guadalquivir valley using trajectories

DOI: 10.3369/tethys.2011.8.03

Tethys no. 8 pp.: 21 - 30

Abstract

The Guadalquivir valley favors the channeling of air masses from coastal areas to inland Andalusia. This paper presents a first approximation of the spatial variation along the Guadalquivir valley in some of the representative thermodynamic properties of air masses. We have selected three representative sites of its lower, middle and high course, analyzing all of them on their daily trajectories and hourly records of potential temperature, specific humidity and wind speed during the period 2000-2007. The set of trajectories has been calculated using the HYSPLIT model (Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory), establishing 12 UTC as the arrival time, a duration of 120 hours and a final height of incidence of 500 m. The cluster analysis has allowed the selection of ten different types of air masses, and those with a clear origin from the west were selected from this group. Analysis in the three sites of the daily cycles of potential temperature show a gradual cooling (3-4 K) during the cold period (November-February) of the year and warming during the warm period (June-September) in the range of 5-6 K between the ends of the valley. The specific humidity experiences a drop, regardless of the period and type of air mass, as the air mass travels through the valley, being more intense during the warm period with up to 8 g kg-1 instead of the 1-2 g kg-1 in the cold period. The wind speed cycles show a progressive drop of intensity along the valley, more marked in the final section with a reduction of up to 3 m s-1 per 100 km, the more intense values being recorded during the warm period of the year with average values of up to 4 m s-1.

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Partially funded through grants CGL2007-29820-E/CLI, CGL2008-02804-E/, CGL2009-07417-E and CGL2011-14046-E of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation