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Comparing the Dynamical Development of Two Mesoscale Convective Vortices

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  • 1 Department of Physics and Technology, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, Pennsylvania
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Abstract

Examination of much of the literature regarding mesoscale convective vortices (MCVs) exposes significant incongruity over their origin and development. A vorticity budget analysis can conclusively demonstrate that incongruous results are due, at least in part, to different MCV developmental paths.

A study of the dynamics of two numerically generated MCVs for the purpose of comparing their evolution from the initial stages to maturity produced the result that the final MCV structure was achieved from different developmental paths. Each MCV was diagnosed using model output from the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5). The analysis consisted of detailing the dynamics of the MCV formation through a diagnosis of the vertical vorticity equation. The results of the study, combined with a comparison with other studies, led to the conclusion that the same mature vertical MCV structure is produced from a variety of dynamical paths.

Such a conclusion impacts the nature and style of the scientific approach to gaining a complete understanding of the origin and subsequent development of MCVs. If different developmental paths are indeed possible, a complete understanding of MCV formation will only result from the application of statistics to the study of many MCVs.

Corresponding author address: James R. Kirk, Dept. of Physics and Technology, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, G-34 Hendricks Hall, Edinboro, PA 16444. Email: kirkj@edinboro.edu

Abstract

Examination of much of the literature regarding mesoscale convective vortices (MCVs) exposes significant incongruity over their origin and development. A vorticity budget analysis can conclusively demonstrate that incongruous results are due, at least in part, to different MCV developmental paths.

A study of the dynamics of two numerically generated MCVs for the purpose of comparing their evolution from the initial stages to maturity produced the result that the final MCV structure was achieved from different developmental paths. Each MCV was diagnosed using model output from the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5). The analysis consisted of detailing the dynamics of the MCV formation through a diagnosis of the vertical vorticity equation. The results of the study, combined with a comparison with other studies, led to the conclusion that the same mature vertical MCV structure is produced from a variety of dynamical paths.

Such a conclusion impacts the nature and style of the scientific approach to gaining a complete understanding of the origin and subsequent development of MCVs. If different developmental paths are indeed possible, a complete understanding of MCV formation will only result from the application of statistics to the study of many MCVs.

Corresponding author address: James R. Kirk, Dept. of Physics and Technology, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, G-34 Hendricks Hall, Edinboro, PA 16444. Email: kirkj@edinboro.edu

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