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Vertical Motions in Orographic Cloud Systems over the Payette River Basin. Part III: An Evaluation of the Impact of Transient Vertical Motions on Targeting during Orographic Cloud Seeding Operations

Kaylee HeimesaDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

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Troy J. ZarembaaDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

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Robert M. RauberaDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

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Sarah A. TessendorfcResearch Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Lulin XuecResearch Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Kyoko IkedacResearch Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Bart GeertsbDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

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Jeffrey FrenchbDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

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Katja FriedrichdDepartment of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado

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Roy M. RasmussencResearch Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Melvin L. KunkeleDepartment of Resource Planning and Operations, Idaho Power Company, Boise, Idaho

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Derek R. BlestrudeDepartment of Resource Planning and Operations, Idaho Power Company, Boise, Idaho

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Abstract

In Part II, two classes of vertical motions, fixed (associated with vertically propagating gravity waves tied to flow over topography) and transient (associated primarily with vertical wind shear and conditional instability within passing weather systems), were diagnosed over the Payette River basin of Idaho during the Seeded and Natural Orographic Wintertime Clouds: The Idaho Experiment (SNOWIE). This paper compares vertical motions retrieved from airborne Doppler radial velocity measurements with those from a 900-m-resolution model simulation to determine the impact of transient vertical motions on trajectories of ice particles initiated by airborne cloud seeding. An orographic forcing index, developed to compare vertical motion fields retrieved from the radar with the model, showed that fixed vertical motions were well resolved by the model while transient vertical motions were not. Particle trajectories were calculated for 75 cross-sectional pairs, each differing only by the observed and modeled vertical motion field. Wind fields and particle terminal velocities were otherwise identical in both trajectories so that the impact of transient vertical circulations on particle trajectories could be isolated. In 66.7% of flight-leg pairs, the distance traveled by particles in the model and observations differed by less than 5 km with transient features having minimal impact. In 9.3% of the pairs, model and observation trajectories landed within the ideal target seeding elevation range (>2000 m), whereas, in 77.3% of the pairs, both trajectories landed below the ideal target elevation. Particles in the observations and model descended into valleys on the mountains’ lee sides in 94.2% of cases in which particles traveled less than 37 km.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Kaylee Heimes, kheimes2@illinois.edu

Abstract

In Part II, two classes of vertical motions, fixed (associated with vertically propagating gravity waves tied to flow over topography) and transient (associated primarily with vertical wind shear and conditional instability within passing weather systems), were diagnosed over the Payette River basin of Idaho during the Seeded and Natural Orographic Wintertime Clouds: The Idaho Experiment (SNOWIE). This paper compares vertical motions retrieved from airborne Doppler radial velocity measurements with those from a 900-m-resolution model simulation to determine the impact of transient vertical motions on trajectories of ice particles initiated by airborne cloud seeding. An orographic forcing index, developed to compare vertical motion fields retrieved from the radar with the model, showed that fixed vertical motions were well resolved by the model while transient vertical motions were not. Particle trajectories were calculated for 75 cross-sectional pairs, each differing only by the observed and modeled vertical motion field. Wind fields and particle terminal velocities were otherwise identical in both trajectories so that the impact of transient vertical circulations on particle trajectories could be isolated. In 66.7% of flight-leg pairs, the distance traveled by particles in the model and observations differed by less than 5 km with transient features having minimal impact. In 9.3% of the pairs, model and observation trajectories landed within the ideal target seeding elevation range (>2000 m), whereas, in 77.3% of the pairs, both trajectories landed below the ideal target elevation. Particles in the observations and model descended into valleys on the mountains’ lee sides in 94.2% of cases in which particles traveled less than 37 km.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Kaylee Heimes, kheimes2@illinois.edu
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