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Applied Aviation Sciences

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Measurements from the NOAA Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) 300 m tower, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Sabreliner aircraft, and the NOAA GOES-5 satellite, give evidence for the cross-front scale collapse of nonprecipitating surface cold-frontal zones to horizontal distances of ∼1 km or less. The leading edges of these frosts possess the characteristic structure of density current flows: an elevated hydraulic head followed by a turbulent wake. Vertical motions at the frontal heads exceed 5 m s−1 at 300 m (AGL). The ascent at the frontal head may act as a (∼1 km-scale) triggering mechanism for the release of potential instability and the formation of intense squall-line mesoconvection.

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Monthly Weather Review



American Meteorological Society

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Dr. Mosher was not affiliated with Embry-RIddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.

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© Copyright 1985 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. All AMS journals and monograph publications are registered with the Copyright Clearance Center ( Questions about permission to use materials for which AMS holds the copyright can also be directed to the AMS Permissions Officer at Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement, available on the AMS website (

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