Influence of Synoptic Cold Fronts on Microclimates in Watkins Glen Gorge

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Chad W. Hecht, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY; and N. F. Laird

Thermodynamic and dynamic differences exist across a range of scales in the atmosphere. This study investigates the influence of synoptic-scale cold fronts on microclimatic conditions within the complex terrain of Watkins Glen gorge. The gorge features 19 waterfalls, cliffs as high as 200-ft., and descends nearly 600 ft. over a distance of 1.5 miles. During an eight-week period from 13 September to 7 November 2012, several small weather stations recorded meteorological conditions using a 20-minute time interval at sites inside and outside of the gorge. Using archived National Weather Service data and NCEP surface frontal analyses, a total of 9 separate cold frontal passages through the area were identified during the project. Results indicate that the passage of a cold front affects the temperature and atmospheric moisture at the sites in the gorge similarly; however, the magnitude and rates of the change differ. The site within the open area of the gorge experienced rapid changes in conditions compared to the site in the confined area of the gorge. The largest rate of change in temperature and dewpoint temperature occurred at both interior gorge sites within 3 hours after the front passed. This poster will present the influence of cold fronts on the microclimatic conditions of Watkins Glen gorge using both case study and climatological analyses.