Odd Behavior in a Peculiar Basin
On clear, synoptically undisturbed nights a mesoscale (~ 50 km length-scale) southeasterly cold-air drainage flow on the tilted plain outside the Meteor Crater impinges on the crater topography and lifts air to the crater rim that is cold enough to intrude into the crater basin. The cold air intrusion comes down the upwind inner sidewall of the basin and descends until reaching its level of buoyancy equilibrium. The shallow cold-air intrusion coming down the inner sidewall of the basin differs from typical downslope flows in that it benefits from a continuous source of relatively cold air at the crater rim. Detrainment of cold air from this downslope flow increases nighttime cooling inside the basin and destabilizes the nighttime temperature profiles inside the crater basin. The destabilization produces odd isothermal profiles through most of the basin depth, a peculiar feature not seen before in other basins of this approximate size.