A storm safari in Subtropical South America: proyecto RELAMPAGO

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA.
  • | 2 Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera, CONICET-UBA. Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmósfera y los Océanos, UBA, UMI-IFAECI, CNRS-CONICET-UBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • | 3 Facultad de Matemática, Astronomía, Física y Computación, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Instituto de Física Enrique Gaviola, CONICET, Córdoba, Argentina.
  • | 4 Atmospheric Science Department, University of Alabama, Huntsville, Alabama, USA.
  • | 5 Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.
  • | 6 Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • | 7 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
  • | 8 Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • | 9 Comité Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina.
  • | 10 Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina.
  • | 11 Thunderbolt Global Analytics, Huntsville, AL, USA.
  • | 12 Center for Severe Weather Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
  • | 13 Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • | 14 NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, Alabama, USA.
  • | 15 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA.
  • | 16 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
  • | 17 Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Brazil.
  • | 18 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.
  • | 19 Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, São José dos Campos, Brazil
  • | 20 University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
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Abstract

This article provides an overview of the experimental design, execution, education and public outreach, data collection, and initial scientific results from the Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) field campaign. RELAMPAGO was a major field campaign conducted in Córdoba and Mendoza provinces in Argentina, and western Rio Grande do Sul State in Brazil in 2018-2019 that involved more than 200 scientists and students from the US, Argentina, and Brazil. This campaign was motivated by the physical processes and societal impacts of deep convection that frequently initiates in this region, often along the complex terrain of the Sierras de Córdoba and Andes, and often grows rapidly upscale into dangerous storms that impact society. Observed storms during the experiment produced copious hail, intense flash flooding, extreme lightning flash rates and other unusual lightning phenomena, but few tornadoes. The 5 distinct scientific foci of RELAMPAGO: convection initiation, severe weather, upscale growth, hydrometeorology, and lightning and electrification are described, as are the deployment strategies to observe physical processes relevant to these foci. The campaign’s international cooperation, forecasting efforts, and mission planning strategies enabled a successful data collection effort. In addition, the legacy of RELAMPAGO in South America, including extensive multi-national education, public outreach, and social media data-gathering associated with the campaign, is summarized.

Corresponding author: Stephen W. Nesbitt, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1301 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801 snesbitt@illinois.edu

Abstract

This article provides an overview of the experimental design, execution, education and public outreach, data collection, and initial scientific results from the Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) field campaign. RELAMPAGO was a major field campaign conducted in Córdoba and Mendoza provinces in Argentina, and western Rio Grande do Sul State in Brazil in 2018-2019 that involved more than 200 scientists and students from the US, Argentina, and Brazil. This campaign was motivated by the physical processes and societal impacts of deep convection that frequently initiates in this region, often along the complex terrain of the Sierras de Córdoba and Andes, and often grows rapidly upscale into dangerous storms that impact society. Observed storms during the experiment produced copious hail, intense flash flooding, extreme lightning flash rates and other unusual lightning phenomena, but few tornadoes. The 5 distinct scientific foci of RELAMPAGO: convection initiation, severe weather, upscale growth, hydrometeorology, and lightning and electrification are described, as are the deployment strategies to observe physical processes relevant to these foci. The campaign’s international cooperation, forecasting efforts, and mission planning strategies enabled a successful data collection effort. In addition, the legacy of RELAMPAGO in South America, including extensive multi-national education, public outreach, and social media data-gathering associated with the campaign, is summarized.

Corresponding author: Stephen W. Nesbitt, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1301 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801 snesbitt@illinois.edu
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