January 26, 2023
Journal Article

Observational study of the South American Low-Level Jet during the SALLJEX


The South American Low-Level Jet (SALLJ) east of the Andes is a narrow maximum northerly wind present just above the boundary layer. It is an important component of the tropical-extratropical exchange of heat and moisture in South America and favors deep moist convection in Southeastern South America (SESA). In the present study, the SALLJ characteristics during the 2002-2003 summer season are investigated using upper-air measurements collected during the SALLJ Experiment (SALLJEX). At most stations, the highest wind speed was observed below 3000 m between 06 and 12 UTC, mainly in association with a maximization of the northerly component of the wind while the zonal component reached its minimum. An increase in the maximum wind speed from 10°S to Santa Cruz de la Sierra’s latitude and from there a weakening southward was found throughout the SALLJEX network. Additionally, SALLJEX observations allowed to locate SALLJ core purely from observations in a region just east of the Andes in agreement with previous studies. A new localized kinematic classification was developed and applied in this study to analyze the relationship between the SALLJ intensity and the thermodynamic properties of the lower layers of the atmosphere. Weak, moderate, and strong SALLJ categories were defined with a local threshold of the northerly wind speed maximum at each station. The strongest SALLJs were frequently observed at nighttime, while weaker SALLJs were likely to occur at any time of the day. A stabilization of the nocturnal boundary layer was observed between weak and moderate cases whereas a destabilization between moderate and strong cases were found near the time of the wind speed maximum (06 UTC) at Santiago del Estero and Resistencia stations. A deepening of the convective boundary layer and an increase of its mean temperature between weak and strong category during the previous afternoon to nocturnal SALLJs, reveal a possible contribution to the mechanisms that generate the maximum wind speed.

Published: January 26, 2023


Yabra M., M. Nicolini, P.C. Borque, Y. Skabar, and P. Salio. 2022. Observational study of the South American Low-Level Jet during the SALLJEX. International Journal of Climatology 42, no. 16:9676-9696. PNNL-SA-167535. doi:10.1002/joc.7857

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