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Precipitation Characteristics of Mesoscale Convective Weather Systems

R. J. Kane Jr.Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

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C. R. CheliusDepartment of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

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J. M. FritschDepartment of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

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Abstract

Precipitation from 74 mesoscale convective complexes is examined to determine the total precipitation, areal extent, and characteristic precipitation pattern of an average convective complex. The relationship between the average precipitation pattern and the track of the centroid of the satellite-observed, cold-cloud shield is determined as an aid to forecasting. The amount and spatial distribution of precipitation during each stage (i.e., initiation, maturation and dissipation) of the average convective system's life cycle are presented, as well as the precipitation patterns for systems that form in particular synoptic environments. The precipitation characteristics of MCCs are compared to those from 32 other convective weather systems that are similar to MCCs but do not meet all the MCC-definition criteria.

Abstract

Precipitation from 74 mesoscale convective complexes is examined to determine the total precipitation, areal extent, and characteristic precipitation pattern of an average convective complex. The relationship between the average precipitation pattern and the track of the centroid of the satellite-observed, cold-cloud shield is determined as an aid to forecasting. The amount and spatial distribution of precipitation during each stage (i.e., initiation, maturation and dissipation) of the average convective system's life cycle are presented, as well as the precipitation patterns for systems that form in particular synoptic environments. The precipitation characteristics of MCCs are compared to those from 32 other convective weather systems that are similar to MCCs but do not meet all the MCC-definition criteria.

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