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Radar-Observed Characteristics of Precipitating Systems during NAME 2004

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • | 2 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 3 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • | 4 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 5 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Abstract

A multiradar network, operated in the southern Gulf of California (GoC) region during the 2004 North American Monsoon Experiment, is used to analyze the spatial and temporal variabilities of local precipitation. Based on the initial findings of this analysis, it is found that terrain played a key role in this variability, as the diurnal cycle was dominated by convective triggering during the afternoon over the peaks and foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental (SMO). Precipitating systems grew upscale and moved WNW toward the gulf. Distinct precipitation regimes within the monsoon are identified. The first, regime A, corresponded to enhanced precipitation over the southern portions of the coast and GoC, typically during the overnight and early morning hours. This was due to precipitating systems surviving the westward trip (∼7 m s−1; 3–4 m s−1 in excess of steering winds) from the SMO after sunset, likely because of enhanced environmental wind shear as diagnosed from local soundings. The second, regime B, corresponded to the significant northward/along-coast movement of systems (∼10 m s−1; 4–5 m s−1 in excess of steering winds) and often overlapped with regime A. The weak propagation is explainable by shallow–weak cold pools. Reanalysis data suggest that tropical easterly waves were associated with the occurrence of disturbed regimes. Gulf surges occurred during a small subset of these regimes, so they played a minor role during 2004. Mesoscale convective systems and other organized systems were responsible for most of the rainfall in this region, particularly during the disturbed regimes.

* Current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

Corresponding author address: Timothy J. Lang, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. Email: tlang@atmos.colostate.edu

This article included in the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) special collection.

Abstract

A multiradar network, operated in the southern Gulf of California (GoC) region during the 2004 North American Monsoon Experiment, is used to analyze the spatial and temporal variabilities of local precipitation. Based on the initial findings of this analysis, it is found that terrain played a key role in this variability, as the diurnal cycle was dominated by convective triggering during the afternoon over the peaks and foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental (SMO). Precipitating systems grew upscale and moved WNW toward the gulf. Distinct precipitation regimes within the monsoon are identified. The first, regime A, corresponded to enhanced precipitation over the southern portions of the coast and GoC, typically during the overnight and early morning hours. This was due to precipitating systems surviving the westward trip (∼7 m s−1; 3–4 m s−1 in excess of steering winds) from the SMO after sunset, likely because of enhanced environmental wind shear as diagnosed from local soundings. The second, regime B, corresponded to the significant northward/along-coast movement of systems (∼10 m s−1; 4–5 m s−1 in excess of steering winds) and often overlapped with regime A. The weak propagation is explainable by shallow–weak cold pools. Reanalysis data suggest that tropical easterly waves were associated with the occurrence of disturbed regimes. Gulf surges occurred during a small subset of these regimes, so they played a minor role during 2004. Mesoscale convective systems and other organized systems were responsible for most of the rainfall in this region, particularly during the disturbed regimes.

* Current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

Corresponding author address: Timothy J. Lang, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. Email: tlang@atmos.colostate.edu

This article included in the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) special collection.

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