The Tokar Gap Jet: Regional Circulation, Diurnal Variability, and Moisture Transport Based on Numerical Simulations


Davis, Shannon R.
Pratt, Lawrence J.
Jiang, Houshuo

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The structure, variability, and regional connectivity of the Tokar Gap jet (TGJ) are described using WRF Model analyses and supporting atmospheric datasets from the East African–Red Sea–Arabian Peninsula (EARSAP) region during summer 2008. Sources of the TGJ’s unique quasi-diurnal nature and association with atypically high atmospheric moisture transport are traced back to larger-scale atmospheric dynamics influencing its forcing. These include seasonal shifts in the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), variability of the monsoon and North African wind regimes, and ties to other orographic flow patterns. Strong modulation of the TGJ by regional processes such as the desert heating cycle, wind convergence at the ITCZ surface front, and the local land–sea breeze cycle are described. Two case studies present the interplay of these influences in detail. The first of these was an “extreme” gap wind event on 12 July, in which horizontal velocities in the Tokar Gap exceeded 26 m s−1 and the flow from the jet extended the full width of the Red Sea basin. This event coincided with development of a large mesoscale convective complex (MCC) and precipitation at the entrance of the Tokar Gap as well as smaller gaps downstream along the Arabian Peninsula. More typical behavior of the TGJ during the 2008 summer is discussed using a second case study on 19 July. Downwind impact of the TGJ is evaluated using Lagrangian model trajectories and analysis of the lateral moisture fluxes (LMFs) during jet events. These results suggest means by which TGJ contributes to large LMFs and has potential bearing upon Sahelian rainfall and MCC development.

Davis SR, Pratt LJ, Jiang H (2015) The Tokar Gap Jet: Regional Circulation, Diurnal Variability, and Moisture Transport Based on Numerical Simulations. Journal of Climate 28: 5885–5907. Available:

This work was supported by a grant from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) as well as National Science Foundation Grant OCE0927017 and from DOD (MURI) Grant N000141110087, administered by the Office of Naval Research. The authors would also like to thank Jason Albright, Caroline Ummenhofer, Tom Farrar, Xujing Jia Davis, Paolo Luzzatto-Fegiz, Ping Zhai, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful discussions during the course of the work.

American Meteorological Society

Journal of Climate


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