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Troy J. Zaremba
,
Robert M. Rauber
,
Bart Geerts
,
Jeffrey R. French
,
Sarah A. Tessendorf
,
Lulin Xue
,
Katja Friedrich
,
Courtney Weeks
,
Roy M. Rasmussen
,
Melvin L. Kunkel
, and
Derek R. Blestrud

Abstract

This paper examines the controls on supercooled liquid water content (SLWC) and drop number concentrations (Nt ,CDP) over the Payette River basin during the Seeded and Natural Orographic Wintertime Clouds: The Idaho Experiment (SNOWIE) campaign. During SNOWIE, 27.4% of 1-Hz in situ cloud droplet probe samples were in an environment containing supercooled liquid water (SLW). The interquartile range of SLWC, when present, was found to be 0.02–0.18 g m−3 and 13.3–37.2 cm−3 for Nt ,CDP, with the most extreme values reaching 0.40–1.75 g m−3 and 150–320 cm−3 in isolated regions of convection and strong shear-induced turbulence. SLWC and Nt ,CDP distributions are shown to be directly related to cloud-top temperature and ice particle concentrations, consistent with past research over other mountain ranges. Two classes of vertical motions were analyzed as potential controls on SLWC and Nt ,CDP, the first forced by the orography and fixed in space relative to the topography (stationary waves) and the second transient, triggered by vertical shear and instability within passing synoptic-scale cyclones. SLWC occurrence and magnitudes, and Nt ,CDP associated with fixed updrafts were found to be normally distributed about ridgelines when SLW was present. SLW was more likely to form at low altitudes near the terrain slope associated with fixed waves due to higher mixing ratios and larger vertical air parcel displacements at low altitudes. When considering transient updrafts, SLWC and Nt ,CDP appear more uniformly distributed over the flight track with little discernable terrain dependence as a result of time and spatially varying updrafts associated with passing weather systems. The implications for cloud seeding over the basin are discussed.

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Douglas Schuster
and
Michael Friedman
Open access
Amanda M. Murphy
and
Cameron R. Homeyer

Abstract

Forecasting tornadogenesis remains a difficult problem in meteorology, especially for short-lived, predominantly nonsupercellular tornadic storms embedded within mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). This study compares populations of tornadic nonsupercellular MCS storm cells with their nontornadic counterparts, focusing on nontornadic storms that have similar radar characteristics to tornadic storms. Comparisons of single-polarization radar variables during storm lifetimes show that median values of low-level, midlevel, and column-maximum azimuthal shear, as well as low-level radial divergence, enable the highest degree of separation between tornadic and nontornadic storms. Focusing on low-level azimuthal shear values, null storms were randomly selected such that the distribution of null low-level azimuthal shear values matched the distribution of tornadic values. After isolating the null cases from the nontornadic population, signatures emerge in single-polarization data that enable discrimination between nontornadic and tornadic storms. In comparison, dual-polarization variables show little deviation between storm types. Tornadic storms both at tornadogenesis and at a 20-min lead time show collocation of the primary storm updraft with enhanced near-surface rotation and convergence, facilitating the nonmesocyclonic tornadogenesis processes.

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Free access
W. James Steenburgh
,
Julie A. Cunningham
,
Philip T. Bergmaier
,
Bart Geerts
, and
Peter Veals

Abstract

Potential factors affecting the inland penetration and orographic modulation of lake-effect precipitation east of Lake Ontario include the environmental (lake, land, and atmospheric) conditions, mode of the lake-effect system, and orographic processes associated with flow across the downstream Tug Hill Plateau (herein Tug Hill), Black River valley, and Adirondack Mountains (herein Adirondacks). In this study we use data from the KTYX WSR-88D, ERA5 reanalysis, New York State Mesonet, and Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems (OWLeS) field campaign to examine how these factors influence lake-effect characteristics with emphasis on the region downstream of Tug Hill. During an eight-cool-season (16 November–15 April) study period (2012/13–2019/20), total radar-estimated precipitation during lake-effect periods increased gradually from Lake Ontario to upper Tug Hill and decreased abruptly where the Tug Hill escarpment drops into the Black River valley. The axis of maximum precipitation shifted poleward across the northern Black River valley and into the northwestern Adirondacks. In the western Adirondacks, the heaviest lake-effect snowfall periods featured strong, near-zonal boundary layer flow, a deep boundary layer, and a single precipitation band aligned along the long-lake axis. Airborne profiling radar observations collected during OWLeS IOP10 revealed precipitation enhancement over Tug Hill, spillover and shadowing in the Black River valley where a resonant lee wave was present, and precipitation invigoration over the western Adirondacks. These results illustrate the orographic modulation of inland-penetrating lake-effect systems downstream of Lake Ontario and the factors favoring heavy snowfall over the western Adirondacks.

Significance Statement

Inland penetrating lake-effect storms east of Lake Ontario affect remote rural communities, enable a regional winter-sports economy, and contribute to a snowpack that contributes to runoff and flooding during thaws and rain-on-snow events. In this study we illustrate how the region’s three major geographic features—Tug Hill, the Black River valley, and the western Adirondacks—affect the characteristics of lake-effect precipitation, describe the factors contributing to heavy snowfall over the western Adirondacks, and provide an examples of terrain effects in a lake-effect storm observed with a specially instrumented research aircraft.

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Daniel P. Greenway
,
Tracy Haack
, and
Erin E. Hackett

Abstract

This study investigates the use of numerical weather prediction (NWP) ensembles to aid refractivity inversion problems during surface ducting conditions. Thirteen sets of measured thermodynamic atmospheric data from an instrumented helicopter during the Wallops Island field experiment are fit to a two-layer parametric surface duct model to characterize the duct. This modeled refractivity is considered “ground truth” for the environment and is used to generate the synthetic radar propagation loss field that then drives the inversion process. The inverse solution (refractivity derived from the synthetic radar data) is compared with this ground truth refractivity. For the inversion process, parameters of the two-layer model are iteratively estimated using genetic algorithms to determine which parameters likely produced the synthetic radar propagation field. Three numerical inversion experiments are conducted. The first experiment utilizes a randomized set of two-layer model parameters to initialize the inversion process, while the second experiment initializes the inversion using NWP ensembles, and the third experiment uses NWP ensembles to both initialize and restrict the parameter search intervals used in the inversion process. The results show that incorporation of NWP data benefits the accuracy and speed of the inversion result. However, in a few cases, an extended NWP ensemble forecast period was needed to encompass the ground truth parameters in the restricted search space. Furthermore, it is found that NWP ensemble populations with smaller spreads are more likely to hinder the inverse process than to aid it.

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Athanasios Ntoumos
,
Panos Hadjinicolaou
,
George Zittis
,
Katiana Constantinidou
,
Anna Tzyrkalli
, and
Jos Lelieveld

Abstract

We assess the sensitivity of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model to the use of different planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterizations focusing on air temperature and extreme heat conditions. This work aims to evaluate the performance of the WRF Model in simulating temperatures across the Middle East–North Africa (MENA) domain, explain the model biases resulting from the choice of different PBL schemes, and identify the best-performing configuration for the MENA region. Three different PBL schemes are used to downscale the ECMWF ERA-Interim climate over the MENA region at a horizontal resolution of 24 km, for the period 2000–10. These are the Mellor–Yamada–Janjić (MYJ), Yonsei University (YSU), and the asymmetric convective model, version 2 (ACM2). For the evaluation of the WRF runs, we used related meteorological variables from the ERA5 reanalysis, including summer maximum and minimum 2-m air temperature and heat extreme indices. Our results indicate that simulations tend to overestimate maximum temperatures and underestimate minimum temperatures, and we find that model errors are very dependent on the geographic location. The possible physical causes of model biases are investigated through the analysis of additional variables (such as boundary layer height, moisture, and heat fluxes). It is shown that differences among the PBL schemes are associated with differences in vertical mixing strength, which alters the magnitude of the entrainment of free-tropospheric air into the PBL. The YSU is found to be the best-performing scheme, and it is recommended in WRF climate simulations for the MENA region.

Open access
Mikell Warms
,
Katja Friedrich
,
Lulin Xue
,
Sarah Tessendorf
, and
Kyoko Ikeda

Abstract

The western United States region, an economic and agricultural powerhouse, is highly dependent on winter snowpack from the mountain west. Coupled with increasing water and renewable electricity demands, the predictability and viability of snowpack resources in a changing climate are becoming increasingly important. In Idaho, specifically, up to 75% of the state’s electricity production comes from hydropower, which is dependent on the timing and volume of spring snowmelt. While we know that 1 April snowpack is declining from SNOTEL observations and is expected to continue to decline as indicated by GCM predictions, our ability to understand the variability of snowfall accumulation and distribution at the regional level is less robust. In this paper, we analyze snowfall events using 0.9-km-resolution WRF simulations to understand the variability of snowfall accumulation and distribution in the mountains of Idaho between 1 October 2016 and 31 April 2017. Various characteristics of snowfall events throughout the season are evaluated, including the spatial coverage, event durations, and snowfall rates, along with the relationship between cloud microphysical variables—particularly liquid and ice water content—on snowfall amounts. Our findings suggest that efficient snowfall conditions—for example, higher levels of elevated supercooled liquid water—can exist throughout the winter season but are more impactful when surface temperatures are near or below freezing. Inefficient snowfall events are common, exceeding 50% of the total snowfall events for the year, with some of those occurring in peak winter. For such events, glaciogenic cloud seeding could make a significant impact on snowpack development and viability in the region.

Significance Statement

The purpose and significance of this study is to better understand the variability of snowfall event accumulation and distribution in the Payette Mountains region of Idaho as it relates to the local topography, the drivers of snowfall events, the cloud microphysical properties, and what constitutes an efficient or inefficient snowfall event (i.e., its ability to convert atmospheric liquid water into snowfall). As part of this process, we identify how many snowfall events in a season are inefficient to determine the number of snowfall events in a season that are candidates for enhancement by glaciogenic cloud seeding.

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Lea Hartl
,
Carl Schmitt
,
Telayna Wong
,
Dragos A. Vas
,
Lewis Enterkin
, and
Martin Stuefer

Abstract

Ice fog typically occurs at temperatures below approximately −30°C. Ice fog formation and persistence are affected by atmospheric processes at different spatial and temporal scales and can be influenced by anthropogenic activities that add vapor to the near-surface atmosphere. Based on meteorological observations from Fairbanks International Airport and Eielson Air Force Base (Alaska) from 1948/49 to 2021/22, we provide an overview of general ice fog climatology at the sites, changes over time, and synoptic-scale upper-level weather patterns common during ice fog occurrence. On average, ice fog occurrence has decreased by 60%–70% over the study period (median number of ice fog days at Fairbanks airport in the period 1950/51–1979/80: 16.5; median in the period 1990/91–2019/20: 6). The average lengths of ice fog events and of the ice fog season have also decreased. Trends are not linear, and rates of change vary over time. The greatest reduction in ice fog occurred during the 1970s and 1980s. Trends in ice fog hours roughly track decreasing trends in hours with cold temperatures. However, the percentage of cold hours in which ice fog occurs has decreased since approximately the 1980s. This result suggests that local changes in air pollution or near-surface moisture may also play an important role in trends in ice fog occurrence. We use self-organizing maps to assess recurring synoptic-scale weather patterns in the upper atmosphere during ice fog conditions in Fairbanks. Ice fog is typically associated with a northerly flow or low pressure gradients over the study area.

Significance Statement

We aim to show when and how often ice fog occurs in the Fairbanks region, how this has changed over time, and what kind of larger-scale weather patterns are common during ice fog. Ice fog strongly reduces visibility and represents a hazard to aviation and other traffic. The number of ice fog hours and days per winter has decreased substantially over the 70-yr period of record. Ice fog is, on average, less persistent now than in the past. The reduction is related to fewer days with cold temperatures, but changes in air pollution and other local factors may also play an important role. Further study is needed to fully attribute the causes of the observed changes.

Open access
Yuan Lu
,
Yunjun Zhou
,
Shuping Zou
,
Zhe Yang
, and
Yong Zeng

Abstract

This study analyzed the macro- and microphysical response characteristics of a typical multicell hailstorm after seeding on 27 April 2019 in Weining, China, using X-band dual-polarization radar (YLD1-D) data. An improved X-pol hydrometeor identification algorithm was employed for hydrometeor identification. According to the diffusion of the seeding agents, the seeded hailstorm was graded into three study regions, and the evolution of the seeded hailstorm was divided into four periods. The response characteristics of the seeded hailstorm in each region and period were compared and analyzed. The results show that 1) macroscopically, the decrease in the reflectivity and the height of strong echo mainly occurred in the seeded period, whereas the decrease in the echo top and the height of the storm was mainly in the postseeded period; the echo height variation of the unseeded hailstorm is obviously different from that of the seeded hailstorm; and 2) from the microscopic perspective, the decrease in low-density graupel and supercooled water and the increase in ice crystals and aggregates in the seeded region mainly occurred in the seeded period, which was consistent with the time required for the “benefit competition” after the silver iodide completed nucleation. When compared with the seeded region, the hydrometeors in the unseeded region had an opposite trend (or an in-phase trend with an obviously lower changing rate), which further indicated the impact of the artificial ice nuclei on microphysical processes in the seeded region. For hailstorms with a high content of supercooled droplets and graupel, the key mechanisms of hail suppression are “cloud water glaciation,” “beneficial competition,” and “early rainout.”

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