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Scott M. Steiger, Robert Schrom, Alfred Stamm, Daniel Ruth, Keith Jaszka, Timothy Kress, Brett Rathbun, Jeffrey Frame, Joshua Wurman, and Karen Kosiba

Abstract

The eastern Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario) are often affected by intense lake-effect snowfalls. Lake-effect storms that form parallel to the major axes of these lakes can strongly impact communities by depositing more than 100 cm of snowfall in less than 24 h. Long-lake-axis-parallel (LLAP) storms are significantly different in structure and dynamics compared to the much more studied wind-parallel roll storms that typically form over the western Great Lakes. A Doppler on Wheels (DOW) mobile radar sampled several of these storms at fine spatial and temporal resolutions (and close to the surface) during the winter of 2010–11 over and downwind of Lake Ontario to document and improve understanding of how these storms develop. Over 1100 observations of vortices were catalogued within the 16 December 2010 and 4–5 January 2011 events. The majority of these vortices were less than 1 km in diameter with a statistical modal difference in Doppler velocity (delta-V) value across the vortex of 11 m s−1. Vortices developed along boundaries, which formed within the bands, suggesting horizontal shear instability was the main cause. Other features noted in the DOW observations included bounded weak echo regions, anvils, and horizontal vortices, typically on the south side of west–east-oriented LLAP bands. The reflectivity and velocity structure of LLAP bands were found to be much more complex than previously thought, which may impact localized precipitation amounts and errors in forecast location/intensity.

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Gary M. Lackmann, Brian Ancell, Matthew Bunkers, Ben Kirtman, Karen Kosiba, Amy McGovern, Lynn McMurdie, Zhaoxia Pu, Elizabeth Ritchie, and Henry P. Huntington
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Roger M. Wakimoto, Nolan T. Atkins, Kelly M. Butler, Howard B. Bluestein, Kyle Thiem, Jeffrey C. Snyder, Jana Houser, Karen Kosiba, and Joshua Wurman

Abstract

A detailed damage survey of the El Reno, Oklahoma, tornado of 31 May 2013 combined with rapid-scanning data recorded from two mobile radars is presented. One of the radars was equipped with polarimetric capability. The relationship between several suction vortices visually identified in pictures with the high-resolution Doppler velocity data and swath marks in fields is discussed. The suction vortices were associated with small shear features in Doppler velocity and a partial ringlike feature of high spectral width. For the first time, a suction vortex that created a swath mark in a field was visually identified in photographs and high-definition video while the rotational couplet was tracked by radar. A dual-Doppler wind synthesis of the tornadic circulation at low levels near the location of several storm chaser fatalities resolved ground-relative wind speeds in excess of 90 m s−1, greater than the minimum speed for EF5 damage. The vertical vorticity analysis revealed a rapid transition from a single tornadic vortex centered on the weak-echo hole (WEH) to suction vortices surrounding the WEH and collocated with the ring of enhanced radar reflectivities. Several bands/zones of enhanced convergence were resolved in the wind syntheses. One of the bands was associated with an internal or secondary rear-flank gust front. An inner band of convergence appeared to be a result of the positive bias in tornado-relative radial velocity owing to centrifuging of large lofted debris swirling within the tornado. An outer band of convergence formed at the northern edge of a region of strong inflow that was lofting small debris and dust into the storm.

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Joshua Wurman, Karen Kosiba, Brian Pereira, Paul Robinson, Andrew Frambach, Alycia Gilliland, Trevor White, Josh Aikins, Robert J. Trapp, Stephen Nesbitt, Maiana N. Hanshaw, and Jon Lutz

Abstract

The Flexible Array of Radars and Mesonets (FARM) Facility is an extensive mobile/quickly deployable (MQD) multiple-Doppler radar and in situ instrumentation network. The FARM includes four radars: two 3-cm dual polarization, dual frequency (DPDF), Doppler on Wheels (DOW6/DOW7), the Rapid-Scan DOW (RSDOW), and a quickly deployable (QD) DPDF 5-cm C band on Wheels (COW). The FARM includes three mobile mesonet (MM) vehicles with 3.5-m masts, an array of rugged QD weather stations (PODNET), QD weather stations deployed on infrastructure such as light/power poles (POLENET), four disdrometers, six MQD upper-air sounding systems and a Mobile Operations and Repair Center (MORC). The FARM serves a wide variety of research/educational uses. Components have deployed to >30 projects during 1995–2020 in the United States, Europe, and South America, obtaining pioneering observations of a myriad of small spatial- and temporal-scale phenomena including tornadoes, hurricanes, lake-effect snow storms, aircraft-affecting turbulence, convection initiation, microbursts, intense precipitation, boundary layer structures and evolution, airborne hazardous substances, coastal storms, wildfires and wildfire suppression efforts, weather modification effects, and mountain/alpine winds and precipitation. The radars and other FARM systems support innovative educational efforts, deploying >40 times to universities/colleges, providing hands-on access to cutting-edge instrumentation for their students. The FARM provides integrated multiple radar, mesonet, sounding, and related capabilities enabling diverse and robust coordinated sampling of three-dimensional vector winds, precipitation, and thermodynamics increasingly central to a wide range of mesoscale research. Planned innovations include S-band on Wheels Network (SOWNET) and Bistatic Adaptable Radar Network (BARN), offering more qualitative improvements to the field project observational paradigm, providing broad, flexible, and inexpensive 10-cm radar coverage and vector wind field measurements.

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Robert J. Trapp, Karen A. Kosiba, James N. Marquis, Matthew R. Kumjian, Stephen W. Nesbitt, Joshua Wurman, Paola Salio, Maxwell A. Grover, Paul Robinson, and Deanna A. Hence

Abstract

On 10 November 2018, during the RELAMPAGO field campaign in Argentina, South America, a thunderstorm with supercell characteristics was observed by an array of mobile observing instruments, including three Doppler on Wheels radars. In contrast to the archetypal supercell described in the Glossary of Meteorology, the updraft rotation in this storm was rather short lived (~25 min), causing some initial doubt as to whether this indeed was a supercell. However, retrieved 3D winds from dual-Doppler radar scans were used to document a high spatial correspondence between midlevel vertical velocity and vertical vorticity in this storm, thus providing evidence to support the supercell categorization. Additional data collected within the RELAMPAGO domain revealed other storms with this behavior, which appears to be attributable in part to effects of the local terrain. Specifically, the IOP4 supercell and other short-duration supercell cases presented had storm motions that were nearly perpendicular to the long axis of the Sierras de Córdoba Mountains; a long-duration supercell case, on the other hand, had a storm motion nearly parallel to these mountains. Sounding observations as well as model simulations indicate that a mountain-perpendicular storm motion results in a relatively short storm residence time within the narrow zone of terrain-enhanced vertical wind shear. Such a motion and short residence time would limit the upward tilting, by the left-moving supercell updraft, of the storm-relative, antistreamwise horizontal vorticity associated with anabatic flow near complex terrain.

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Russ S. Schumacher, Deanna A. Hence, Stephen W. Nesbitt, Robert J. Trapp, Karen A. Kosiba, Joshua Wurman, Paola Salio, Martin Rugna, Adam C. Varble, and Nathan R. Kelly

Abstract

During the Remote Sensing of Electrification, Lightning, and Mesoscale/Microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations-Cloud, Aerosol, and Complex Terrain Interactions (RELAMPAGO-CACTI) field experiments in 2018–19, an unprecedented number of balloon-borne soundings were collected in Argentina. Radiosondes were launched from both fixed and mobile platforms, yielding 2712 soundings during the period 15 October 2018–30 April 2019. Approximately 20% of these soundings were collected by highly mobile platforms, strategically positioned for each intensive observing period, and launching approximately once per hour. The combination of fixed and mobile soundings capture both the overall conditions characterizing the RELAMPAGO-CACTI campaign, as well as the detailed evolution of environments supporting the initiation and upscale growth of deep convective storms, including some that produced hazardous hail and heavy rainfall. Episodes of frequent convection were characterized by sufficient quantities of moisture and instability for deep convection, along with deep-layer vertical wind shear supportive of organized or rotating storms. A total of 11 soundings showed most unstable convective available potential energy (MUCAPE) exceeding 6000 J kg−1, comparable to the extreme instability observed in other parts of the world with intense deep convection. Parameters used to diagnose severe-storm potential showed that conditions were often favorable for supercells and severe hail, but not for tornadoes, primarily because of insufficient low-level wind shear. High-frequency soundings also revealed the structure and evolution of the boundary layer leading up to convection initiation, convectively generated cold pools, the South American low-level jet (SALLJ), and elevated nocturnal convection. This sounding dataset will enable improved understanding and prediction of convective storms and their surroundings in subtropical South America, as well as comparisons with other heavily studied regions such as the central United States that have not previously been possible.

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Michael M. Bell, Robert A. Ballard, Mark Bauman, Annette M. Foerster, Andrew Frambach, Karen A. Kosiba, Wen-Chau Lee, Shannon L. Rees, and Joshua Wurman

Abstract

A National Science Foundation sponsored educational deployment of a Doppler on Wheels radar called the Hawaiian Educational Radar Opportunity (HERO) was conducted on O‘ahu from 21 October to 13 November 2013. This was the first-ever deployment of a polarimetric X-band (3 cm) research radar in Hawaii. A unique fine-resolution radar and radiosonde dataset was collected during 16 intensive observing periods through a collaborative effort between University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa undergraduate and graduate students and the National Weather Service’s Weather Forecast Office in Honolulu. HERO was the field component of MET 628 “Radar Meteorology,” with 12 enrolled graduate students who collected and analyzed the data as part of the course. Extensive community outreach was conducted, including participation in a School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology open house event with over 7,500 visitors from local K–12 schools and the public. An overview of the HERO project and highlights of some interesting tropical rain and cloud observations are described. Phenomena observed by the radar include cumulus clouds, trade wind showers, deep convective thunderstorms, and a widespread heavy rain event associated with a cold frontal passage. Detailed cloud and precipitation structures and their interactions with O‘ahu terrain, unique dual-polarization signatures, and the implications for the dynamics and microphysics of tropical convection are presented.

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David A. R. Kristovich, Richard D. Clark, Jeffrey Frame, Bart Geerts, Kevin R. Knupp, Karen A. Kosiba, Neil F. Laird, Nicholas D. Metz, Justin R. Minder, Todd D. Sikora, W. James Steenburgh, Scott M. Steiger, Joshua Wurman, and George S. Young

Abstract

Intense lake-effect snowstorms regularly develop over the eastern Great Lakes, resulting in extreme winter weather conditions with snowfalls sometimes exceeding 1 m. The Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems (OWLeS) field campaign sought to obtain unprecedented observations of these highly complex winter storms.

OWLeS employed an extensive and diverse array of instrumentation, including the University of Wyoming King Air research aircraft, five university-owned upper-air sounding systems, three Center for Severe Weather Research Doppler on Wheels radars, a wind profiler, profiling cloud and precipitation radars, an airborne lidar, mobile mesonets, deployable weather Pods, and snowfall and particle measuring systems. Close collaborations with National Weather Service Forecast Offices during and following OWLeS have provided a direct pathway for results of observational and numerical modeling analyses to improve the prediction of severe lake-effect snowstorm evolution. The roles of atmospheric boundary layer processes over heterogeneous surfaces (water, ice, and land), mixed-phase microphysics within shallow convection, topography, and mesoscale convective structures are being explored.

More than 75 students representing nine institutions participated in a wide variety of data collection efforts, including the operation of radars, radiosonde systems, mobile mesonets, and snow observation equipment in challenging and severe winter weather environments.

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Pedro L. Fernández-Cabán, A. Addison Alford, Martin J. Bell, Michael I. Biggerstaff, Gordon D. Carrie, Brian Hirth, Karen Kosiba, Brian M. Phillips, John L. Schroeder, Sean M. Waugh, Eric Williford, Joshua Wurman, and Forrest J. Masters

Abstract

While Hurricane Harvey will best be remembered for record rainfall that led to widespread flooding in southeastern Texas and western Louisiana, the storm also produced some of the most extreme wind speeds ever to be captured by an adaptive mesonet at landfall. This paper describes the unique tools and the strategy used by the Digital Hurricane Consortium (DHC), an ad hoc group of atmospheric scientists and wind engineers, to intercept and collect high-resolution measurements of Harvey’s inner core and eyewall as it passed over Aransas Bay into mainland Texas. The DHC successfully deployed more than 25 observational assets, leading to an unprecedented view of the boundary layer and winds aloft in the eyewall of a major hurricane at landfall. Analysis of anemometric measurements and mobile radar data during heavy convection shows the kinematic structure of the hurricane at landfall and the suspected influence of circulations aloft on surface winds and extreme surface gusts. Evidence of mesoscale vortices in the interior of the eyewall is also presented. Finally, the paper reports on an atmospheric sounding in the inner eyewall that produced an exceptionally large and potentially record value of precipitable water content for observed soundings in the continental United States.

Open access
Eric Rappin, Rezaul Mahmood, Udaysankar Nair, Roger A. Pielke Sr., William Brown, Steve Oncley, Joshua Wurman, Karen Kosiba, Aaron Kaulfus, Chris Phillips, Emilee Lachenmeier, Joseph Santanello Jr., Edward Kim, and Patricia Lawston-Parker

Abstract

Extensive expansion in irrigated agriculture has taken place over the last half century. Due to increased irrigation and resultant land-use–land-cover change, the central United States has seen a decrease in temperature and changes in precipitation during the second half of the twentieth century. To investigate the impacts of widespread commencement of irrigation at the beginning of the growing season and continued irrigation throughout the summer on local and regional weather, the Great Plains Irrigation Experiment (GRAINEX) was conducted in the spring and summer of 2018 in southeastern Nebraska. GRAINEX consisted of two 15-day intensive observation periods. Observational platforms from multiple agencies and universities were deployed to investigate the role of irrigation in surface moisture content, heat fluxes, diurnal boundary layer evolution, and local precipitation. This article provides an overview of the data collected and an analysis of the role of irrigation in land–atmosphere interactions on time scales from the seasonal to the diurnal. The analysis shows that a clear irrigation signal was apparent during the peak growing season in mid-July. This paper shows the strong impact of irrigation on surface fluxes, near-surface temperature and humidity, and boundary layer growth and decay.

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