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Andreas Schäfler
Marc Rautenhaus


In summer 2021, microphysical properties and climate impact of high- and midlatitude ice clouds over Europe and the North Atlantic were studied during the Cirrus High Latitude (CIRRUS-HL) airborne field campaign. The related forecasting and flight planning tasks provided a testbed for interactive 3D visual analysis. Operational analyses and forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) were visualized with the open-source software “Met.3D.” A combination of traditional 2D displays with innovative 3D views in the interactive visualization framework facilitated rapid and comprehensive exploration of the NWP data. By this means, the benefit of interactive 3D visual forecast products in the routine flight planning procedure was evaluated. Here, we describe the use of 3D tropopause and cloud visualizations during a convective event over the Alps, which became one of the CIRRUS-HL observation targets. For the planning of the research flight on 8 July 2021, our analysis revealed that simulated strong convective updrafts locally disturb the tropopause and inject ice water across the dynamical tropopause into the lower stratosphere. The presented example provides a novel 3D perspective of convective overshooting in a global NWP model and its impact on the tropopause and lower stratosphere. The case study shall encourage the atmospheric science community to further evaluate the use of modern 3D visualization capabilities for NWP analysis.

Open access