Development and forcing of the rear inflow jet in a rapidly developing and decaying squall line during BAMEX

Joseph A. Grim, Robert M. Rauber, Greg M. McFarquhar, Brian F. Jewett, David P. Jorgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the development, structure, and forcing of the rear inflow jet (RIJ) through the life cycle of a small, short-lived squall line over north-central Kansas on 29 June 2003. The analyses were developed from airborne quad-Doppler tail radar data from the NOAA and NRL P-3 aircraft, obtained over a 2-h period encompassing the formation, development, and decay of the squall line during the Bow Echo and Mesoscale Convective Vortex Experiment (BAMEX). The strengthening of the system-relative rear inflow to 17 m s-1 was concurrent with the formation of a bow echo, an increased dynamic pressure gradient beneath the rearward-tilted updraft, and two counterrotating vortices at either end of the bow. The later weakening of the RIJ to 8 m s-1 was concurrent with the weakening of the bow, a decreased dynamic pressure gradient at midlevels behind the bow, and the weakening and spreading of the vortices. In a modeling study, Weisman quantified the forcing mechanisms responsible for the development of an RIJ. This present study is the first to quantitatively analyze these mechanisms using observational data. The forcing for the horizontal rear inflow was analyzed at different stages of system evolution by evaluating the contributions of four forcing mechanisms: 1) the horizontal pressure gradient resulting from the vertical buoyancy distribution (δPB), 2) the dynamic pressure gradient induced by the circulation between the vortices (δPV), 3) the dynamic irrotational pressure gradient (δPI), and 4) the background synoptic-scale dynamic pressure gradient (δPS). During the formative stage of the bow, δPI was the strongest forcing mechanism, contributing 50% to the rear inflow. However, during the mature and weakening stages, δPI switched signs and opposed the rear inflow while the combination of δPB and δPV accounted for at least 70% of the rear inflow. The δPS forced 4%-25% of the rear inflow throughout the system evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1206-1229
Number of pages24
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Development and forcing of the rear inflow jet in a rapidly developing and decaying squall line during BAMEX'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this