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Howard B. Bluestein, Jana B. Houser, Michael M. French, Jeffrey C. Snyder, George D. Emmitt, Ivan PopStefanija, Chad Baldi, and Robert T. Bluth

Abstract

During the Second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2), in the spring of 2010, a mobile and pulsed Doppler lidar system [the Truck-Mounted Wind Observing Lidar Facility (TWOLF)] mounted on a truck along with a mobile, phased-array, X-band Doppler radar system [Mobile Weather Radar–2005 X-band, phased array (MWR-05XP)] was used to complement Doppler velocity coverage in clear air near the radar–lidar facility and to provide high-spatial-resolution vertical cross sections of the Doppler wind field in the clear-air boundary layer near and in supercells. It is thought that the magnitude and direction of vertical shear and possibly the orientation and spacing of rolls in the boundary layer have significant effects on both supercell and tornado behavior; MWR-05XP and TWOLF can provide data that can be used to measure vertical shear and detect rolls. However, there are very few detailed, time-dependent and spatially varying observations throughout the depth of the boundary layer of supercells and tornadoes.

This paper discusses lidar and radar data collected in or near six supercells. Features seen by the lidar included gust fronts, horizontal convective rolls, and small-scale vortices. The lidar proved useful at detecting high-spatial-resolution, clear-air returns at close range, where the radar was incapable of doing so, thus providing a more complete picture of the boundary layer environment ahead of supercells. The lidar was especially useful in areas where there was ground-clutter contamination. When there was precipitation and probably insects, and beyond the range of the lidar, where there was no ground-clutter contamination, the radar was the more useful instrument. Suggestions are made for improving the system and its use in studying the tornado boundary layer.

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David C. Leon, Jeffrey R. French, Sonia Lasher-Trapp, Alan M. Blyth, Steven J. Abel, Susan Ballard, Andrew Barrett, Lindsay J. Bennett, Keith Bower, Barbara Brooks, Phil Brown, Cristina Charlton-Perez, Thomas Choularton, Peter Clark, Chris Collier, Jonathan Crosier, Zhiqiang Cui, Seonaid Dey, David Dufton, Chloe Eagle, Michael J. Flynn, Martin Gallagher, Carol Halliwell, Kirsty Hanley, Lee Hawkness-Smith, Yahui Huang, Graeme Kelly, Malcolm Kitchen, Alexei Korolev, Humphrey Lean, Zixia Liu, John Marsham, Daniel Moser, John Nicol, Emily G. Norton, David Plummer, Jeremy Price, Hugo Ricketts, Nigel Roberts, Phil D. Rosenberg, David Simonin, Jonathan W. Taylor, Robert Warren, Paul I. Williams, and Gillian Young

Abstract

The Convective Precipitation Experiment (COPE) was a joint U.K.–U.S. field campaign held during the summer of 2013 in the southwest peninsula of England, designed to study convective clouds that produce heavy rain leading to flash floods. The clouds form along convergence lines that develop regularly as a result of the topography. Major flash floods have occurred in the past, most famously at Boscastle in 2004. It has been suggested that much of the rain was produced by warm rain processes, similar to some flash floods that have occurred in the United States. The overarching goal of COPE is to improve quantitative convective precipitation forecasting by understanding the interactions of the cloud microphysics and dynamics and thereby to improve numerical weather prediction (NWP) model skill for forecasts of flash floods. Two research aircraft, the University of Wyoming King Air and the U.K. BAe 146, obtained detailed in situ and remote sensing measurements in, around, and below storms on several days. A new fast-scanning X-band dual-polarization Doppler radar made 360° volume scans over 10 elevation angles approximately every 5 min and was augmented by two Met Office C-band radars and the Chilbolton S-band radar. Detailed aerosol measurements were made on the aircraft and on the ground. This paper i) provides an overview of the COPE field campaign and the resulting dataset, ii) presents examples of heavy convective rainfall in clouds containing ice and also in relatively shallow clouds through the warm rain process alone, and iii) explains how COPE data will be used to improve high-resolution NWP models for operational use.

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