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Deep Convection and “First Echoes” within Anvil Precipitation

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The development of convective cells within anvil precipitation, in a region of moderate convective activity that might be called a small mesoscale convective system, is described and discussed. The presence of precipitation-sized hydrometeors in the air as the convection develops makes early stages visible to radar that might not otherwise be seen. Two kinds of convective initiation are illustrated. In one, a vigorous cell is initiated over an outflow boundary, but within light precipitation. In the other, the initiation is evidently by an instability created by the melting layer, perhaps by a mechanism first discussed by Findeisen. In this latter type, the new convective elements are not severe but they generate supercooled cloud within the anvil, extend entirely through the anvil to altitudes above 12 km MSL, and produce graupel showers with rain at the ground exceeding 50 dBZ. The instability itself may be generated in large part by moistening and cooling the sounding by the falling precipitation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Charles A. Knight, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. Email: knightc@ucar.edu

Abstract

The development of convective cells within anvil precipitation, in a region of moderate convective activity that might be called a small mesoscale convective system, is described and discussed. The presence of precipitation-sized hydrometeors in the air as the convection develops makes early stages visible to radar that might not otherwise be seen. Two kinds of convective initiation are illustrated. In one, a vigorous cell is initiated over an outflow boundary, but within light precipitation. In the other, the initiation is evidently by an instability created by the melting layer, perhaps by a mechanism first discussed by Findeisen. In this latter type, the new convective elements are not severe but they generate supercooled cloud within the anvil, extend entirely through the anvil to altitudes above 12 km MSL, and produce graupel showers with rain at the ground exceeding 50 dBZ. The instability itself may be generated in large part by moistening and cooling the sounding by the falling precipitation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Charles A. Knight, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. Email: knightc@ucar.edu

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