Sierra Rotors Experiment: A Study of Mountain Wave Induced Rotors
The Sierra Rotors Project is an NSF-funded project to study mountain-wave induced rotors in the lee of the Sierra Nevada in Owens Valley. The rotors, intense horizontal vorticies with strong turbulence, can pose severe aeronautical hazards. The eastern slopes of the southern Sierra Nevada make up the tallest, steepest, quasi-linear topographic barrier in the contiguous United States, and are well-known for generating large-amplitude mountain waves and strong rotors over the Owens Valley. The main objective of this project is to establish quantitative characteristics of the rotor behavior as well as to evaluate the extent to which current operational mesoscale models can reliably forecast the occurrence of rotors.