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Observations of the Discrete Propagation of a Mesoscale Convective System during RELAMPAGO–CACTI

Kelly LombardoaDepartment of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

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Matthew R. KumjianaDepartment of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

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Abstract

During the early morning hours of 5 November 2018, a mature mesoscale convective system (MCS) propagated discretely over the second-most populous province of Argentina, Córdoba Province, during the Remote Sensing of Electrification, Lightning, and Mesoscale/Microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations–Cloud, Aerosol, and Complex Terrain Interactions (RELAMPAGO–CACTI) joint field campaigns. Storm behavior was modified by the Sierras de Córdoba, a north–south-oriented regional mountain chain located in the western side of the province. Here, we present observational evidence of the discrete propagation event and the impact of the mountains on the associated physical processes. As the mature MCS moved northeastward and approached the windward side of the mountains, isolated convective cells developed downstream in the mountain lee, 20–50 km ahead of the main convective line. Cells were initiated by an undular bore, which formed as the MCS cold pool moved over the mountain ridge and perturbed the leeside nocturnal, low-level stable layer. The field of isolated cells organized into a new MCS, which continued to move northeastward, while the parent storm decayed as it traversed the mountains. Only the southern portion of the storm propagated discretely, due to variability in mountain height along the chain. In the north, taller mountain peaks prevented the MCS cold pool from moving over the terrain and perturbing the stable layer. Consequently, no bore was generated, and no discrete propagation occurred in this region. To the south, the MCS cold pool was able to traverse the lower-relief mountains, and the discrete propagation was successful.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Kelly Lombardo, lombardo@psu.edu

Abstract

During the early morning hours of 5 November 2018, a mature mesoscale convective system (MCS) propagated discretely over the second-most populous province of Argentina, Córdoba Province, during the Remote Sensing of Electrification, Lightning, and Mesoscale/Microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations–Cloud, Aerosol, and Complex Terrain Interactions (RELAMPAGO–CACTI) joint field campaigns. Storm behavior was modified by the Sierras de Córdoba, a north–south-oriented regional mountain chain located in the western side of the province. Here, we present observational evidence of the discrete propagation event and the impact of the mountains on the associated physical processes. As the mature MCS moved northeastward and approached the windward side of the mountains, isolated convective cells developed downstream in the mountain lee, 20–50 km ahead of the main convective line. Cells were initiated by an undular bore, which formed as the MCS cold pool moved over the mountain ridge and perturbed the leeside nocturnal, low-level stable layer. The field of isolated cells organized into a new MCS, which continued to move northeastward, while the parent storm decayed as it traversed the mountains. Only the southern portion of the storm propagated discretely, due to variability in mountain height along the chain. In the north, taller mountain peaks prevented the MCS cold pool from moving over the terrain and perturbing the stable layer. Consequently, no bore was generated, and no discrete propagation occurred in this region. To the south, the MCS cold pool was able to traverse the lower-relief mountains, and the discrete propagation was successful.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Kelly Lombardo, lombardo@psu.edu
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