Mechanism of daytime strong winds on the northern slopes of Himalayas, near Mount Everest: Observation and simulation

Fanglin Sun, Yaoming Ma, Zeyong Hu, Maoshan Li, Gianni Tartari, Franco Salerno, Tobias Gerken, Paolo Bonasoni, Paolo Cristofanelli, Elisa Vuillermoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The seasonal variability of strong afternoon winds in a northern Himalayan valley and their relationship with the synoptic circulation were examined using in situ meteorological data from March 2006 to February 2007 and numerical simulations. Meteorological observations were focused on the lower Rongbuk valley, on the north side of the Himalayas (4270 m MSL), where a wind profile radar was available. In the monsoon season (21 May-4 October), the strong afternoon wind was southeasterly, whereas it was southwesterly in the nonmonsoon season. Numerical simulations were performed using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model to investigate the mechanism causing these afternoon strong winds. The study found that during the nonmonsoon season the strong winds are produced by downward momentum transport from the westerly winds aloft, whereas those during the monsoon season are driven by the inflow into the Arun Valley east of Mount Everest. The air in the Arun Valley was found to be colder than that of the surroundings during the daytime, and there was a horizontal pressure gradient from the Arun Valley to Qomolangma Station (QOMS), China Academy of Sciences, at the 5200-m level. This explains the formation of the strong afternoon southeasterly wind over QOMS in the monsoon season. In the nonmonsoon season, the colder air from Arun Valley is confined below the ridge by westerly winds associated with the subtropical jet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-272
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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