Summertime winds and direct cyclonic circulation: observations from Lake Geneva
Abstract. Records of wind, air temperature and air pressure from nine stations, situated along the shoreline of Lake Geneva, Switzerland, were analyzed for the summer period May to September. At all stations the consistent appearance of significant spectral peaks and changes in wind direction at the diurnal frequency indicates the importance of lake-land breezes. It is shown that the surrounding topography has a strong modifying effect (temporal and spatial) on the lake-land breeze. Superimposed on this cyclic wind pattern, short episodes of strong winds with long fetch over parts of Lake Geneva are regularly observed. Both of these winds exert a spatially variable wind stress over the lake surface on the same time scale. Typical examples of the expected lake's response are presented, among them the seasonally persistent gyre in the central part of the lake. Evidence is provided that this dominant circulation is part of a direct cyclonic circulation, generated by the curl of the diurnal wind field. It is concluded that the mean circulation is caused by these winds and affected by the topography of the surrounding land.