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Estimating Downburst-Related Maximum Surface Wind Speeds by Means of Proximity Soundings in New South Wales, Australia

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  • 1 University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
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Abstract

A regional climatology of strong wind gusts associated with thunderstorms is presented, and the ability to estimate gust strength from ambient conditions is tested. Strong wind events were selected for 10 stations in New South Wales, Australia, from anemograph records and coincident thunderstorm reports. Most events took place between midafternoon and late evening and during the warmer months of the year, which is broadly consistent with the occurrence of severe thunderstorms in general. One sounding-based index, designed to predict the strength of microbursts, proves to be of limited value in predicting the magnitude of strong convective gusts, even of short-lived gusts. A modified index that combines the microburst index with upper-level wind speed is more useful.

Corresponding author address: Dr. B. Geerts, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071.

Email: geerts@uwyo.edu

Abstract

A regional climatology of strong wind gusts associated with thunderstorms is presented, and the ability to estimate gust strength from ambient conditions is tested. Strong wind events were selected for 10 stations in New South Wales, Australia, from anemograph records and coincident thunderstorm reports. Most events took place between midafternoon and late evening and during the warmer months of the year, which is broadly consistent with the occurrence of severe thunderstorms in general. One sounding-based index, designed to predict the strength of microbursts, proves to be of limited value in predicting the magnitude of strong convective gusts, even of short-lived gusts. A modified index that combines the microburst index with upper-level wind speed is more useful.

Corresponding author address: Dr. B. Geerts, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071.

Email: geerts@uwyo.edu

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