Diabatic Influence on Mesoscale Structures in Extratropical Storms (DIAMET)

Description:

This collection of articles published in Monthly Weather Review and Weather and Forecasting collects the research results from the DIAMET field and research program in the United Kingdom (UK). DIAMET is a collaboration between the Universities of East Anglia, Leeds, Manchester, and Reading, in conjunction with the UK Met Office, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, and the National Centre for Earth Observation. The overarching theme of DIAMET is the role of diabatic processes in generating mesoscale potential vorticity (PV) and moisture anomalies in cyclonic storms, and the consequences of those anomalies for the weather we experience. Such mesoscale structures come in many forms. Some, such as cold-frontal rainbands, are relatively common, whereas others such as sting jets are rare, but of great scientific interest and potentially high impact. Our focus is on two key diabatic processes: latent heat changes due to condensation/evaporation or change of phase between water and ice; and the flux of latent and sensible heat from the ocean surface, particularly under high-wind conditions. The full preface can be read here.

Collection organizers:
David M. Schultz, Centre for Atmospheric Science, School for Earth, Atmospheric, and Environmental Sciences, The University of Manchester
Geraint Vaughan, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, and Centre for Atmospheric Science, School for Earth, Atmospheric, and Environmental Sciences, The University of Manchester

Visit the DIAMET web page.

Diabatic Influence on Mesoscale Structures in Extratropical Storms (DIAMET)

You are looking at 11 - 14 of 14 items for :

  • Monthly Weather Review x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All
Matthew R. Clark
and
Douglas J. Parker

Abstract

Observations from a mesoscale network of automatic weather stations are analyzed for 15 U.K. cold fronts exhibiting narrow cold frontal rainbands (NCFRs). Seven of the NCFRs produced tornadoes. A time-compositing approach is applied to the minute-resolution data using the radar-observed motion vectors of NCFR precipitation segments. Interpolated onto a 5-km grid, the analyses resolve much of the small-mesoscale structure in surface wind, temperature, and pressure fields. Postfrontal winds varied substantially between cases. Tornadic NCFRs exhibited a near-90° wind veer and little or no reduction in wind speed on NCFR passage; these attributes were generally associated with large vertical vorticity, horizontal convergence, and vorticity stretching at the NCFR. Nontornadic NCFRs exhibited smaller wind veers and/or marked decreases in wind speed across the NCFR, and weaker vorticity, convergence, and vorticity stretching. In at least four tornadic NCFRs, increases in vorticity stretching preceded tornadogenesis. Doppler radar observations of two tornadic NCFRs revealed the development of misocyclones, some tornadic, during the latter stages of vorticity-stretching increase. The presence of cyclonic vortices only, in one case occurring at regular intervals along the NCFR, provides limited circumstantial evidence for horizontal shearing instability (HSI), though other vortex-genesis mechanisms cannot be discounted. Vorticity-stretching increases were associated with coherent mesoscale structures in the postfrontal wind field, which modified the cross-frontal convergence. Where cross-frontal convergence was large, extremely narrow, intense shear zones were observed; results suggest that tornadoes occurred when such shear zones developed in conjunction with conditional instability in the prefrontal environment.

Full access

Diabatic Heating and Cooling Rates Derived from In Situ Microphysics Measurements: A Case Study of a Wintertime U.K. Cold Front

C. Dearden
,
P. J. Connolly
,
G. Lloyd
,
J. Crosier
,
K. N. Bower
,
T. W. Choularton
, and
G. Vaughan

Abstract

In situ measurements associated with the passage of a kata cold front over the United Kingdom on 29 November 2011 are used to initialize a Lagrangian parcel model for the purpose of calculating rates of diabatic heating and cooling associated with the phase changes of water within the cloud system. The parcel model calculations are performed with both bin-resolved and bulk treatments of microphysical processes. The in situ data from this case study reveal droplet number concentrations up to 100 cm−3, with planar ice crystals detected at cloud top, as well as columnar crystals produced by rime splinter ejection within the prefrontal warm sector. The results show that in terms of magnitude, the most significant rates of diabatic heating and cooling are produced by condensation growth of liquid water within the convective updrafts at the leading edge of the front. The peak temperature tendencies associated with condensation are typically found to be at least an order of magnitude larger than those associated with the ice phase, although the cooling effect from sublimation and melting occurs over a wide region. The parcel model framework is used in conjunction with the observations to assess the suitability of existing bulk microphysical treatments, of the kind used in operational weather forecast models. It is found that the assumption of spherical ice crystals (with diameters equal to the maximum dimension of those sampled), along with the use of negative exponential functions to describe ice particle size distributions, can lead to an overestimation of local diabatic heating and cooling rates by a factor of 2 or more.

Open access

Precipitation Banding in Idealized Baroclinic Waves

Jesse Norris
,
Geraint Vaughan
, and
David M. Schultz

Abstract

Moist idealized baroclinic-wave simulations show the development of precipitation bands from a zonally uniform initial midlatitude jet. For a frictionless lower boundary, and with no latent-heat release or surface heat and moisture fluxes, warm advection is strong and a bent-back warm front forms. Although a narrow vertical-velocity maximum forms within the area of synoptic-scale ascent near the triple point, only a wide warm-frontal band forms. As surface roughness length increases between simulations to that of an ocean then a land surface, warm advection is reduced and the cold front becomes stronger relative to the warm front. A separate narrow rainband forms along the cold front, which is more intense and farther removed from the wide warm-frontal band when roughness length is greater. In the simulation with roughness length appropriate to the ocean, after the narrow band decays, the precipitation becomes oriented along the warm conveyor belt in the warm sector. When latent-heat release is included, this warm-sector precipitation evolves into multiple bands, which eventually weaken with the cyclone. When surface heat and moisture fluxes are included, the ascent at the surface cold front stays strong and a well-defined cold front of the anafront variety persists through this mature stage. The surface precipitation remains in a single intense band along and ahead of the cold front. Therefore, strong surface heat and moisture fluxes inhibit multiple bands, but a simulation with lower sea surface temperature (SST) more closely resembles the simulation without surface heat and moisture fluxes, demonstrating that the detailed structure and evolution of precipitation banding is sensitive to SST.

Open access
Oscar Martínez-Alvarado
,
Laura H. Baker
,
Suzanne L. Gray
,
John Methven
, and
Robert S. Plant

Abstract

Strong winds equatorward and rearward of a cyclone core have often been associated with two phenomena: the cold conveyor belt (CCB) jet and sting jets. Here, detailed observations of the mesoscale structure in this region of an intense cyclone are analyzed. The in situ and dropsonde observations were obtained during two research flights through the cyclone during the Diabatic Influences on Mesoscale Structures in Extratropical Storms (DIAMET) field campaign. A numerical weather prediction model is used to link the strong wind regions with three types of “airstreams” or coherent ensembles of trajectories: two types are identified with the CCB, hooking around the cyclone center, while the third is identified with a sting jet, descending from the cloud head to the west of the cyclone. Chemical tracer observations show for the first time that the CCB and sting jet airstreams are distinct air masses even when the associated low-level wind maxima are not spatially distinct. In the model, the CCB experiences slow latent heating through weak-resolved ascent and convection, while the sting jet experiences weak cooling associated with microphysics during its subsaturated descent. Diagnosis of mesoscale instabilities in the model shows that the CCB passes through largely stable regions, while the sting jet spends relatively long periods in locations characterized by conditional symmetric instability (CSI). The relation of CSI to the observed mesoscale structure of the bent-back front and its possible role in the cloud banding is discussed.

Full access