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Kilroy, Gerard; Smith, Roger K.; Montgomery, Michael T.; Lynch, Billy and Earl-Spurr, Craig (2016): A case-study of amonsoon low that formed over the sea and intensified over land as seen in ECMWF analyses. In: Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 142, No. 699: pp. 2244-2255

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A case-study is presented of a tropical low that formed near Darwin, Australia, during the monsoon and subsequently intensified over land. The study is based on European Centre for Medium-rangeWeather Forecast (ECMWF) analyses. Interpretations of the formation over the sea are given in terms of vorticity dynamics. The thermodynamic support for the intensification and maintenance of the low over land is investigated also. The analyses indicate that the intensification of the low depends on repeated bursts of deep convection occurring near the centre of the circulation that promote the further concentration of vorticity near the centre. This concentration of vorticity increases the local circulation about the centre, which amounts to increasing the local tangential wind speed and, through approximate gradient wind balance above the boundary layer, to a lowering of the central pressure. It is found that the horizontal transport of moisture into a mesoscale column centred on the low is approximately equal to the moisture lost by precipitation, so that total precipitable water levels are not rapidly depleted over land. While the contribution to the overall moisture budget by surface fluxes is comparatively small, these fluxes are necessary to maintain conditionally unstable conditions near the vortex centre so that deep convective bursts can continue to occur there, even when the system is located far inland.

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