Some Seeding Signatures in Sierra Storms

John D. Marwitz Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie 82071

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Ronald E. Stewart Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie 82071

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Abstract

Airborne seeding experiments were conducted over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in essentially ice-free convective clouds on two days in March 1979 as part of the Sierra Cooperative Pilot Project. On 18 March towering cumuli which extended above a stratiform layer of clouds were seeded, while on 21 March individual towering cumuli were seeded as they developed and moved over the windward side of the mountains. Each cloud was seeded with a vertical curtain oriented perpendicular to the winds during a single pass through the cloud top. The seeding mode was either a low (∼0.1 g m−1) or high (∼1 g m−1) CO2 rate or AgI flares (one 20-gram flare per 250 m).

The seeded curtains were penetrated a number of times by the University of Wyoming King Air. The high CO2 rate apparently overseeded the cloud in that the liquid water was depleted and the cloud dissipated in ∼35 min. Even though much of the liquid water was depleted in the other seeded clouds, they persisted and precipitated for over an hour because additional liquid water was condensed through the additional release of convective instability from orographic lifting. The clouds seeded with a low CO2 rate and with AgI flares yielded similar microphysical characteristics and both methods appeared to have converted the non-precipitating clouds to continuously precipitating clouds.

Abstract

Airborne seeding experiments were conducted over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in essentially ice-free convective clouds on two days in March 1979 as part of the Sierra Cooperative Pilot Project. On 18 March towering cumuli which extended above a stratiform layer of clouds were seeded, while on 21 March individual towering cumuli were seeded as they developed and moved over the windward side of the mountains. Each cloud was seeded with a vertical curtain oriented perpendicular to the winds during a single pass through the cloud top. The seeding mode was either a low (∼0.1 g m−1) or high (∼1 g m−1) CO2 rate or AgI flares (one 20-gram flare per 250 m).

The seeded curtains were penetrated a number of times by the University of Wyoming King Air. The high CO2 rate apparently overseeded the cloud in that the liquid water was depleted and the cloud dissipated in ∼35 min. Even though much of the liquid water was depleted in the other seeded clouds, they persisted and precipitated for over an hour because additional liquid water was condensed through the additional release of convective instability from orographic lifting. The clouds seeded with a low CO2 rate and with AgI flares yielded similar microphysical characteristics and both methods appeared to have converted the non-precipitating clouds to continuously precipitating clouds.

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