Development of Convective Systems over Baja California during Tropical Cyclone Linda (2003)

Luis M. Farfán Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, B.C., Unidad La Paz, La Paz, Baja California Sur, México

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Abstract

Characteristics of the life cycle and motion of convective systems that occurred over the Baja California Peninsula were determined from a case study in September of 2003. This note applies data from satellite imagery, regular observations from upper-air and surface networks, and operational analyses. Changes in environmental conditions over northwestern Mexico are documented and these are associated with the development of Tropical Cyclone Linda in the eastern Pacific Ocean. When Linda became a tropical storm and was located several hundred kilometers away to the southwest, a convective outbreak occurred over land.

An examination of large-scale conditions indicated that flow from the eastern flank of Linda supplied low- to midlevel moisture. Significant convection is associated with specific thresholds for precipitable water, CAPE, and lifted index. Convective systems initiated in the early afternoon remained active for several hours and provided localized areas of precipitation along the western side of the peninsular mountains. An assessment of all the available surface data was performed to determine regional elements that played a role in the development of these systems. Results include documentation of a sea breeze from the Gulf of California onto the mountain slopes when organized convection was first detected.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Luis M. Farfán, CICESE, Unidad La Paz, Miraflores 334, La Paz, BCS 23050, México. Email: farfan@cicese.mx

Abstract

Characteristics of the life cycle and motion of convective systems that occurred over the Baja California Peninsula were determined from a case study in September of 2003. This note applies data from satellite imagery, regular observations from upper-air and surface networks, and operational analyses. Changes in environmental conditions over northwestern Mexico are documented and these are associated with the development of Tropical Cyclone Linda in the eastern Pacific Ocean. When Linda became a tropical storm and was located several hundred kilometers away to the southwest, a convective outbreak occurred over land.

An examination of large-scale conditions indicated that flow from the eastern flank of Linda supplied low- to midlevel moisture. Significant convection is associated with specific thresholds for precipitable water, CAPE, and lifted index. Convective systems initiated in the early afternoon remained active for several hours and provided localized areas of precipitation along the western side of the peninsular mountains. An assessment of all the available surface data was performed to determine regional elements that played a role in the development of these systems. Results include documentation of a sea breeze from the Gulf of California onto the mountain slopes when organized convection was first detected.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Luis M. Farfán, CICESE, Unidad La Paz, Miraflores 334, La Paz, BCS 23050, México. Email: farfan@cicese.mx

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