A climatology of wintertime low-level jets in Nares Strait

  • Svenja H.E. Kohnemann Environmental Meteorology, University of Trier, Trier, Germany
  • Günther Heinemann Environmental Meteorology, University of Trier, Trier, Germany
Keywords: Arctic, gap flow, atmospheric modelling, Greenland, North Water Polynya, wind


Intense, southward low-level winds are common in Nares Strait, between Ellesmere Island and northern Greenland. The steep topography along Nares Strait leads to channelling effects, resulting in an along-strait flow. This research study presents a 30-year climatology of the flow regime from simulations of the COSMO-CLM climate model. The simulations are available for the winter periods (November–April) 1987/88 to 2016/17, and thus, cover a period long enough to give robust long-term characteristics of Nares Strait. The horizontal resolution of 15 km is high enough to represent the complex terrain and the meteorological conditions realistically. The 30-year climatology shows that LLJs associated with gap flows are a climatological feature of Nares Strait. The maximum of the mean 10-m wind speed is around 12 m s-1 and is located at the southern exit of Smith Sound. The wind speed is strongly related to the pressure gradient. Single events reach wind speeds of 40 m s-1 in the daily mean. The LLJs are associated with gap flows within the narrowest parts of the strait under stably stratified conditions, with the main LLJ occurring at 100–250 m height. With increasing mountain Froude number, the LLJ wind speed and height increase. The frequency of strong wind events (>20 m s-1 in the daily mean) for the 10 m wind shows a strong interannual variability with an average of 15 events per winter. Channelled winds have a strong impact on the formation of the North Water polynya.


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How to Cite
Kohnemann, S. H., & Heinemann, G. (2021). A climatology of wintertime low-level jets in Nares Strait. Polar Research, 40. https://doi.org/10.33265/polar.v40.3622
Research Articles