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Radio Acoustic Sounding System (RASS) and Wind Profiler Observations of Lower- and Midtropospheric Weather Systems

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  • 1 NOAA/ERL Wave Propagation Laboratory, Boulder, Colojado
  • | 2 Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  • | 3 NOAA/ERL Wave Propagation Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The National 0ceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Wave Propagation Laboratory (WPL) wind profilers and accompanying radio acoustic sounding system (RASS) temperature profilers in eastern Colorado jointly measure nearly continuous (≤1 h), high vertical resolution (≤300 m) wind-velocity and virtual-temperature profiles. This study presents NOAA/WPL wind profiler and RASS observations and diagnostics of propagating lower- and midtropospheric weather systems over Colorado. The wind and temperature remote-sensing systems observed wind-velocity and virtual-temperature structures associated with a synoptic-scale trough and embedded fronts, and a propagating short-wave trough and trailing midtropospheric jet-stream-frontal-zone (jet-front) system. Single-station hourly diagnostic calculations of geopotential heights, horizontal virtual potential temperature gradients, thermal advections, vertical velocities gradient Richardson numbers, and cross-frontal isentropic potential vorticity demonstrate that dynamically consistent synoptic-scale and mesoscale signals can be obtained by combining wind profiler and RASS observations. The wind profilers and RASS documented mesoscale wind velocity and thermal features up to 400 mb that were unresolved temporally and spatially by the synoptic-scale rawinsonde network. Results demonstrate the potential for multisystem (network) applications of this revolutionary technology for describing the temporal and spatial evolution of synoptic-scale and mesoscale weather systems.

Abstract

The National 0ceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Wave Propagation Laboratory (WPL) wind profilers and accompanying radio acoustic sounding system (RASS) temperature profilers in eastern Colorado jointly measure nearly continuous (≤1 h), high vertical resolution (≤300 m) wind-velocity and virtual-temperature profiles. This study presents NOAA/WPL wind profiler and RASS observations and diagnostics of propagating lower- and midtropospheric weather systems over Colorado. The wind and temperature remote-sensing systems observed wind-velocity and virtual-temperature structures associated with a synoptic-scale trough and embedded fronts, and a propagating short-wave trough and trailing midtropospheric jet-stream-frontal-zone (jet-front) system. Single-station hourly diagnostic calculations of geopotential heights, horizontal virtual potential temperature gradients, thermal advections, vertical velocities gradient Richardson numbers, and cross-frontal isentropic potential vorticity demonstrate that dynamically consistent synoptic-scale and mesoscale signals can be obtained by combining wind profiler and RASS observations. The wind profilers and RASS documented mesoscale wind velocity and thermal features up to 400 mb that were unresolved temporally and spatially by the synoptic-scale rawinsonde network. Results demonstrate the potential for multisystem (network) applications of this revolutionary technology for describing the temporal and spatial evolution of synoptic-scale and mesoscale weather systems.

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