A Simulation and Diagnostic Study of Water Vapor Image Dry Bands

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  • 1 Department of Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
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Abstract

A Limited Area Mesoscale Prediction System (LAMPS) model simulation and special 3-hour radiosonde dataset are used to investigate warm (dry) bands in 6,7 μm water vapor satellite imagery on 6–7 March 1982. The purpose is to reveal processes resulting in the formation and evolution of the dry features that appear as curving dark streaks in the imagery. Model soundings are input to a radiative transfer algorithm to generate synthetic 6.7 μm equivalent blackbody temperatures (TB) which are compared with those from the Visible infrared Spin Scan Radiometer Atmospheric Sounder aboard the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. Simulated and radiosonde-derived vertical velocity and humidity also are compared with the images. Finally, trajectories are calculated from both radiosonde data and LAMPS output.

The model reproduces major characteristics of the observed TB field. A “development” dry image feature occurs in conjunction with an upper level shortwave trough, and an “advective” feature is associated with a polar jet streak. Both model and observed TB features are associated with vorticity maxima. The development feature forms as moisture gradients are enhanced by differential subsidence early in the study period. Horizontal wind shear then narrows the incipient dry area into its streak-like shape. Trajectories reveal that air parcels ending in the development streak move with it, in northwesterly, subsiding flow throughout the study period. Near the leading edge of the streak, ahead of the short-wave trough, flow is southwesterly and ascending. Air parcels in the advective image feature sink in the wake of the vorticity maximum, move through it in the jet flow, and finally ascend ahead of it. Thus, warm TB regions do not equate with instantaneous subsidence patterns, but reflect a long history of parcel motions which can include ascent as well.

Abstract

A Limited Area Mesoscale Prediction System (LAMPS) model simulation and special 3-hour radiosonde dataset are used to investigate warm (dry) bands in 6,7 μm water vapor satellite imagery on 6–7 March 1982. The purpose is to reveal processes resulting in the formation and evolution of the dry features that appear as curving dark streaks in the imagery. Model soundings are input to a radiative transfer algorithm to generate synthetic 6.7 μm equivalent blackbody temperatures (TB) which are compared with those from the Visible infrared Spin Scan Radiometer Atmospheric Sounder aboard the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. Simulated and radiosonde-derived vertical velocity and humidity also are compared with the images. Finally, trajectories are calculated from both radiosonde data and LAMPS output.

The model reproduces major characteristics of the observed TB field. A “development” dry image feature occurs in conjunction with an upper level shortwave trough, and an “advective” feature is associated with a polar jet streak. Both model and observed TB features are associated with vorticity maxima. The development feature forms as moisture gradients are enhanced by differential subsidence early in the study period. Horizontal wind shear then narrows the incipient dry area into its streak-like shape. Trajectories reveal that air parcels ending in the development streak move with it, in northwesterly, subsiding flow throughout the study period. Near the leading edge of the streak, ahead of the short-wave trough, flow is southwesterly and ascending. Air parcels in the advective image feature sink in the wake of the vorticity maximum, move through it in the jet flow, and finally ascend ahead of it. Thus, warm TB regions do not equate with instantaneous subsidence patterns, but reflect a long history of parcel motions which can include ascent as well.

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